As I was in prayer a few weeks ago, I was suddenly transported to a scene out of a medieval banquet. I saw a table so long and narrow that I could not see where it ended or where it began. The table was laden with wonderful things to eat – baskets overflowing with all types of breads, bowls filled with luscious fruits, platters holding all sorts of roasted meats, vegetables presented in a variety of ways, and dishes of cheese, butter, nuts, and olives filled out the table. It was a magnificent sight to see and to smell!
On one side of the table stood a very noble-looking man, and on the other side were those who had come to eat. While it seemed that everyone acknowledged the man’s presence, they were mainly talking among themselves as they filled their plates to overflowing with delicious food. Servants were constantly refilling the food platters. There was no lack. I stepped up to the table, overwhelmed with the choices that faced me. I ate a little, but as I pulled away from the table to leave, the man extended his hand and gestured for me to come closer. He simply said, “Won’t you linger with me?” The longing in his eyes touched my heart so deeply that I began to weep.
The word linger means “to remain or stay on in a place longer than usual or expected.” It also means to tarry, to wait without rushing. God desires for us to linger in His presence, to sit at His feet, to be with Him without agenda.
Another picture came to mind as I thought about lingering. It was the first Thanksgiving I spent with my husband’s family. The dinner was held at Dan’s aunt’s house – the second-floor flat of a two-family house near the city of Boston. The tables, lined end to end, started in the dining room, ran all the way through the living room, and spilled over onto the sun porch. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews filled almost every square inch of the small apartment.
After a prayer of thanksgiving, the food started to come – massive amounts of food. The conversation continued and hours later the table was cleared. Some of the young adults went for a walk, the children played in one of the two bedrooms, and everyone shared the bathroom! The television remained off for the day, as did the radio or any form of “outside” communication. Later, we were all assembled back at the table for dessert and fruit. And for hours, brothers and sisters shared about their families, their jobs, and their hopes for their children. Cousins shared about their dreams for college and their jobs. Children giggled and snuggled with anyone wanting an extra cuddle. They lingered. No one was in a hurry to leave.
This made me wonder how often we linger in the presence of God. We send up a short “Help!” prayer and leave the table. We get fed in Bible study, pull away from the meal, full and blessed, and leave without lingering. I have been reminded that for this holiday, I will take extra time to linger with those I love and most of all, to linger with the God I love – to listen to His stories, and to be blessed by His presence.
Article Written By: Dana Cavallaro