The Party Planner 6


Wading through Scripture

After wading through twelve straight chapters of judgment, swift and harsh, I arrived this morning at Chapter 25 of Isaiah. It’s been a long few quiet times, trying to hear my Shepherd’s word to me amidst the terrors and the topplings of ancient kingdoms. But this morning, a welcome word; an easily-discerned word:

O Lord, You are my God

I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name;

For You have worked wonders,

Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness

Sometimes I feel like God is biding His time—either in a long and challenging spate of Bible verses, or in my own life circumstances, or in the world itself. It kind of feels like He’s putting Himself in pause mode, leaving me to fend for myself for awhile. I know Him well enough to recognize the error of my thinking, but behind the veil of finitude and mystery and silence that makes up much of life’s hours, this false impression can remain.

That’s why passages like this are such a gift. They remind me of what’s true.

God’s timely Word

I love God’s Word. I love how He uses these eons-old prophets and apostles—sinners and saints, all—to speak still. So often it happens that, exactly when I need it, the veil obscuring my view is lifted just long enough for me to catch a glimpse of what God is about.

It happens again a few verses down the page:

The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;

A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,

And refined, aged wine.

Do you catch what God is doing here? While we occupy ourselves with laboring and loving, making ends meet and marking the passing of time, God is planning a party. Of course, that’s not all He’s doing, but it’s a big part of what’s in His heart. Has been from the beginning.

Final touches

A few weeks ago, Greg and I stayed home with our grandson Henry while his parents went out on a date. It was the eve of Henry’s first birthday party. So, while our kids were enjoying a couple of hours to themselves and Henry was peacefully sleeping in his crib, we decided to surprise them and bake a cake. We have nary an artistic bone between the two of us, but somehow we shared the conviction that this is exactly how we should spend those two hours.

We baked the cake, cut it into a trapezoid and a couple of lopsided right triangles, slapped some frosting and candy on top, and—to our utter amazement—the end product actually (loosely) resembled the sailboat we were going for. We could hardly wait for the kids to get home so we could surprise them. We were not disappointed: They loved the cake and effusively affirmed our decision to make it. (Which speaks volumes about their gracious hearts and nothing at all about the end product.)

Right now, behind the scenes, God is planning a party to end all parties. He’s baking the cake; He’s growing grapes in the vineyard; He’s setting the table with finest china; He’s deciding on a color scheme the likes of which we’ve never seen. He’s got His calendar and His checklist, and nothing is going to frustrate these plans of His.

The agenda is already set: He will greet each of us personally. Where there’s a tear trickling down, He’ll gently wipe it away. Where there’s a brow furrowed in confusion, He’ll dispel the mystery. Where shoulders are hunched in shame, He will wrap the cloak of righteousness more tightly and gently lift the crestfallen face.

Surest reality

When I find myself bowed down with worry, overcome by exhaustion, sobered by life’s inevitable decline, or fearful of death, I am going to try to remember that what I see and touch and breathe in is not all there is. The reality—more sure than any I’ve yet known—is that, someday, you and I will say:

Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited . . .

Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.

I’m thinking that the more I absorb this reality, the better I’ll be able to rejoice and be glad right now. Because, for those who know the Party Planner, the party is already beginning.

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6 thoughts on “The Party Planner

  • Judy

    Two thoughts ~
    One: Your cake is adorable!
    Two: Your [well, His] timing is perfect, with this simple reminder of the perfect ‘Party’ that’s being planned for our eternity. I’m so very grateful that we’re privy to many of the details & events awaiting us. My desire is to live the remainder of my earthly life reflecting those truths!

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Haha, (1) now those are some rose-colored glasses looking at that cake—thanks for wearing them :) And (2) yes, isn’t He so good to let us in on some of those plans now. Wow. Your life sure does reflect those truths, my friend, and I have no doubt He will always make it so in you.

  • melissa stadtlander

    Jeanelle, thank you again for writing in such a way that truly I can see it! The party that He is planning, I love it! I think He delights when we read His word and it fills us with such joy that scenes fill our mind and we just can’t wait to get there! Your love for His word is contagious! I love that chapter too! And I know in my life that sometimes it does feel that way–chapters of my life “making ends meet and marking the passing of time” or when it seems He is “in pause mode”– but so often in that waiting for Him, in that seeking for what this is all about He does make Himself seen and those tears are wiped away and my head is lifted and He gives that rest in the waiting. I love that He never leaves us wanting, we will say with confidence”We have waited for Him… this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation”. Thank you for encouraging me to rejoice and be glad right now, because He is our Lord and our hope. I love a lyric that I have been singing alot lately that says “’s Your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise to You…” so you are right, the party is already beginning! Thank you dear friend for yet another poignant and timely word from Him!

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      I’ve been singing that lyric pretty much nonstop all week :) Melissa, thanks for reminding us that He wipes many of those tears away right now, and He lifts our head and gives us rest even while we wait for the ultimate rest. I’ve seen Him do that so strongly in you this week as you’ve placed your heart in His hands. It’s beautiful, this party that’s already taking place in you invite your Shepherd in to all your moments, easy or difficult.