Our cup overflows

I invite you to our dining room table. Our table is two 6-foot-long black folding tables stuck together. It is an ample size for a family of six, rather large for the four of us who live under our roof, but perfect for hosting friends. Our table is where people and things have gathered for many different reasons. It’s where family life is shared, meetings happen, prayers are prayed, homework is done, laundry is folded, games are played and puzzles are completed, arguments happen and celebrations commence, life is contemplated and Dad jokes are laughed at. It’s a place for tears to fall and for people to linger over coffee, and of course …food — a rich supply of nutrients is shared around our bountiful table.

I have reflected on Psalm 23, specifically verse 5, and how Father God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. He anoints our head with oil, and our cup overflows.

Imagine as you will, your table that the Father has prepared for you. My banqueting table catches the morning sun, has plants on one third of it, a candle in the middle, two chairs, and one stool for my son, Adam, if he joins me in the morning. This table is where I feast on His Word, instruction He serves up. It’s where I can hear Him the clearest, it’s sacred and holy ground.

But the beautiful thing about this table is that it is prepared in the presence of our enemies. I imagine it like a snow globe effect or the powering up of the “deflector shield generators” from Star Wars — everyone can see through it but no one can touch what’s inside! Whether chaos and tragedy ensue all around us or we are peacefully mesmerized by hummingbirds and the sunset, His peace awaits us at the table that He has prepared for us.

At my table, there is always a cup of creamy warm coffee. And, my cup of coffee is overflowing and saturating the tablecloth! Now, to the seasoned coffee connoisseur, this is an absurd image, but let me explain. This image of the overflowing cup comes from the days of David and was a symbol of invitation, welcome, or dismissal. If a host kept the cup full, the guests knew they were welcome. If the cup was empty, not refilled, the host was indicating it was time for the guests to leave. However, if the host really enjoyed the company, he would fill the cup until overflowing and let it spill over the rim, saturating the table. Let this sink in before reading on. Dear friends, He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies, and our cup is overflowing!

Over the past four years, our journey has been marked with deep pain, sadness, and loss. Had it not been for our time at this table, I’m quite certain we would not still be serving in Costa Rica. In July 2020, right in the middle of Covid, the founder and director of our ministry died suddenly from a heart attack. While we were scrambling and trying to pick up the pieces, six months later, our dear friend and our boys’ youth leader died from Covid complications.

We spent the next year trying to keep the ministry ship afloat and trying to look to Jesus as the captain of that ship. But by August of 2021, we were nearing burnout and needing a rest. We returned stateside to spend time resting in the arms of Jesus and regaining the ground the enemy was trying to steal. Praise God, as we spent time at our saturated table, and sought counsel, He restored our souls and we returned to Costa Rica in November 2021 ready to serve where He has placed us.

At VidaNet, I have the amazing privilege of mentoring and discipling our staff girls. My personal time at my table is a vital necessity as I shepherd their hearts toward Jesus while working through hurts from their past and present. One of my favorite things to do is spend time on the rocking chairs (my office) with them sharing coffee, conversation, and Jesus. Demonstrating the simplicity of taking time to listen and care, my hope is that they see, learn, and experience the value of communing at their table.

I can hardly express the deep sense of peace and joy when they understand their value and that their personal cup is always overflowing! The realization that they have a welcome invitation to remain at their table with Jesus through their daily lives is life-changing! Oh, the beauty of Jesus’ transforming work, and I get to enjoy delicious coffee while He does it!

Jen Hoover, her husband, Daryl, and their sons serve with EMM and VidaNet in Costa Rica.

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