Rose was a widow who lived in West Palm Beach, and when I was in college, many of us students visited her. My friend Mike told me how one evening he popped in on Rose at dinner time and she invited him in. They visited a few moments in her kitchen until he noticed her kitchen table was set for two. “Oh Rose,” he said, “I didn’t realize you were having a guest for dinner. I will scoot out.”
She put her hand on his arm, stopping him and told him she always set two places at her table ever since her husband died over 30 years earlier. Mike assumed the second place setting was to remind her of her late husband and he commented about how sweet it was that she remembered him in that way. Rose quickly corrected my friend saying, “Oh, no. I set a place at my table every evening for Jesus. I sit with Him, listen to Him and expect Him to be with me. This is my way of showing Him.”
Don’t you love that?!
Rose saved a seat at her table for Christ. We save seats at theaters and restaurants, right? Why do we do that? Because we anticipate someone showing up and filling that chair. We expect that certain someone to arrive and hang out with us! Have you ever saved a seat for Jesus?
Sometimes we feel alone because we forget His promise.
Jesus promised you His Presence. He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b) and His promise is sure. In fact, one of the names for Jesus is ‘Immanuel.’ (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23) You’re probably familiar with its meaning, ‘God with us.’
So, rather than just glossing over that promise and assuming His presence is with me, I’m learning to expect Him to be with me. Did you catch that? I don’t want to assume, I want to expect. Assuming is passive, but expecting is active. If we really expect Jesus to make good on His promise and be with us, then we will constantly be saving Him a seat in our lives.
So, anticipate how He will show you He is with you today. Look for Him. Talk to him as if He is walking with you, sitting with you and conversing with you— because He is.
If you can, set another plate at your table to remind you He is with you and you expect Him to be. At your work, if possible, place another chair next to yours while you work. If you’re driving, don’t drop your bag on that empty passenger seat! Let the empty seat be your way of saving Jesus a place; reminding you He is with you. (And, it may improve your manners while you drive!) Do as many tangible things as you can to help remind you to expect Him today. It will help you practice His presence in a really practical way. And, sister, as my piano teacher used to say… practice makes… permanent!
Here are 5 Scriptures to help you expect His presence:
“And He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love.” Zephaniah 3:17
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Psalm 23:4
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” Psalm 139:7
So, what are you going to do to help you expect and experience His presence?