Verse: Psalm 23:5
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Right now, I feel like my cup is partially empty. I keep filling it, but I’m moving about at such a speed that I can’t keep the liquids contained. Or maybe I can’t keep them hot. Are you picturing my coffee cup now? I’m staring at a mug with big letters that say, “CALM.” Hilarious! I’m not one bit calm. I don’t even feel calm enough to write this. What I do know about Jesus is that I don’t need to feel peaceful to sink into His word.

We keep discussing the world in which we are currently living. Everywhere I turn there are in-depth conversations about election day, questions about the potential return to in-person learning or is it the hybrid model? There are beliefs and misbeliefs about the pandemic, as well as unsettledness about human decency and behavior. I can honestly say that I do not recall recently participating in a conversation about big things that are going “right”. How discouraging!

This is where I dig into this verse. I like to gather with people especially when food and sweets are involved. Sometimes I feel too busy, but I do get excited when I’m invited to a party, small get-together or impromptu coffee date. Jesus is saying He’s prepared a table for me. Me? Yes, that’s right, and you too! What’s most encouraging about this verse is the present tense. This isn’t a one and done, a bi-weekly check in, or a quarterly visit. I’m sure you are wondering what you can bring. The answer is YOU. He prepares this table for us, despite the storms and information swirling around. “Enemies” are a tough concept for me to wrap my mind around. I have trouble thinking of people as enemies, but we all know there are people we would rather avoid. How about topics we steer clear from because they make us uncomfortable or feel inferior? It’s human nature.

Jesus dissolves those feelings if we lean into his presence, His gift of stillness, His gift of tranquility.

He takes this a step further in verse 5, by stating that He anoints my head with oil; picture the Holy Spirit within you or beside you. When I take a deep breath in and let it out, it is powerful to imagine this gift. I don’t stop nearly often enough to digest this promise. Then He says, my cup will overflow. Coffee? No! My heart and interactions will overflow with His goodness, His grace, His love. If I take in Jesus, my output will be Jesus. Think about this. Inhale promises, exhale His compassion. Exhale His peace. Exhale His stillness even though the world around you is in mid-marathon.

Listen, I’m nowhere near accomplished at this, but what I can say is I’m working on it! Will you join me?

Dear Jesus, help me to stop, breathe and be. I can do this in the comfort of your words, through requests made to you, by asking others to make requests on my behalf. I’d like to RSVP to your gathering. Thank you for the offer, on repeat. Let me experience your peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Author: Megan Ahern