O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue,behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.You hem me in, behind and before,and lay your hand upon me. –Psalm 139:1-5
One of the first big purchases my husband and I made together was an Ikea kitchen table. The compact square shape fit perfectly in the small eating space of our apartment, and the ambiguous black/brown color meant it could go with everything.
Since it could expand to seat six people, I made the compelling case that we could use it for years. Though he would have preferred something made of real wood and already put together, he reluctantly agreed. So he battled missing pieces and questionable instructions to assemble it.
Over the next nine years, that inexpensive table would see my progression from novice cook to one who could hold her own. It moved into our first house, hosted friends, held board games, and served as the centerpiece for conversations ranging from joyous to somber.
It became a playmat and racetrack as we welcomed our firstborn son. We filled all four original chairs after the adoption of our daughter from China. When I decided to quit my job to stay home for a season with the kids, it became my makeshift workspace for writing during nap times.
Despite all the wonderful moments that happened around it, the fact remained that is was a cheap table. My husband scraped the top of his legs on it every time he moved, and I randomly found screws that had fallen out on the ground.
The quality of the table could not be improved by the value of the life experiences we had around it. Yet I was reluctant to replace it. My excuse was that our kids were young and there was no point spending money on something they would likely destroy. While I had a valid argument, maybe there was more to why I wanted to hang on to this piece of furniture.
You see, I sat at that table many times and prayed big prayers. I also offered regular expressions of thanksgiving for food, health, and family. We invited God in for the milestone moments and thanked him for good things he had done.
But how often did I consult with him about the minute details of my life?
I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I’m bothering God if I pray about the mundane specifics of my day. He’s the all-knowing, ever-present almighty, after all. I’m sure he has much more important things to be concerned about than what I’m packing for my kid’s lunch or what brand of laundry detergent to use.
As someone who has been a Christian as long as I can remember, I know I can call on the Lord in times of turmoil. I heard Psalm 46:1 quoted many times: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
That verse is more than words to me. I had lived it over and over. God was there through college decisions and for transfers when I realized my path had changed. He guided me through highs and lows of career transitions.
He stayed by my side when I was lost in toxic friendships and put steady people in my path. He allowed me to serve in big and small ways, even when my motives weren’t firmly rooted in him.
Through the lonely single years and comedy of dating life, the Lord heard my prayers. He made his presence known in the relationship with my husband and in our married life.
During medical emergencies, health crises, and family turmoil, I prayed hard. Through births, deaths, and our adoption journey, I knew God was our refuge.
In times of crisis or major decisions, calling on the Lord makes sense. The results may be different than I hope, but his handiwork is always evident.
It’s easy to cry out to God when times are difficult. Why do I forget that he also cares about the little things in my life?
A few weeks ago, a new friend of mine posted a beautiful, counter-height dining table set for sale. It had eight chairs and was made of solid wood. Her price was reasonable, so I briefly mentioned it to my husband. Then we got sucked into the nightly bedtime routines of the kids and I forgot about it. The next day, my husband asked to see some photos of the dining set. Flash forward to today and I am typing this story on the leather-cushioned chair of our new kitchen table.
While my husband is excited to have a comfortable place to eat dinner, this table served me on a much deeper level. It is a tangible reminder that God is active in the small details of my life.
For example, most of my friends are in similar life stages to me. But I met the first owner of the table at a church book club filled with retirees and ladies with older children. They are a constant reminder that there is life on the other side of toddlerhood. They also have furniture that doesn’t show the wear and tear of living with young kids. Access to a nice dining set is just one of many benefits of ending up in a group with these women.
Additionally, the timing was right considering we were given some cash as a gift. We were also able to quickly sell that Ikea set for most of what we paid for it, which wasn’t an accident.
Those things may have been overlooked without the biggest evidence of God’s fingerprint on the purchase. Though I didn’t notice in the original photos, the table is exactly the same design as the furniture we have in our living room. Not just the same color family, but part of a matching set. You may think that everyone in our area buys from the same stores, or it was merely a coincidence. And you could be right. But I choose to believe that the Creator of the universe concerns himself with the big and small details of my life…and of yours, too.
As I sit at this wooden table, I know God cares deeply about the family and friends who will share meals here in the coming years. He will be present in the school projects, gingerbread houses, and puzzles we’ll complete around it. The giggles of my children using it as a fort will be a joyful noise to his ears. God cares about the things we do each day. He delights in his people. Even in the aspects of life that we find ordinary, the Lord is there.
Psalm 147:11 says, “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” He loves the details of our lives so much that He sent His Son to die on another wooden object years ago.
The preowned table reminds me that nothing I do is insignificant in God’s hands. Even in seasons that seem mundane, he appreciates the details. My life is in His mighty hands. When we trust Him with the little things in our life day after day, there is no doubt that the big things are safe with our Savior. I’m so grateful that my new kitchen table could remind me of this truth.