One of my favorite movies is a romantic comedy called, "Return to Me". It is about a young woman who receives a heart transplant and how through a series of unusual events, God brings love into her life. But what always strikes me the most about this movie are the scenes that take place around the table in the back room of the restaurant that her grandfather runs. Each night, after the restaurant closes, an eclectic group of people gather to eat, talk and laugh together. It is a warm and inviting place where all are welcome.

One evening, a man grieving over the loss of his wife returns to the restaurant to retrieve his phone, which he had earlier left behind. Even though he is a stranger to the friends at the table, he is graciously welcomed as if he had always belonged there. And in that moment he begins a journey which heals his heart. At the table he finds friends, family, acceptance and love.

Isn't that something we all want -- to be accepted and loved? So often we search for that feeling of belonging in places where we will only find heartache and sorrow. Our lonely human hearts long to be loved and cared for. However, in our search for acceptance we can sometimes make choices contrary to what we know is the right path and as a result, end up feeling more lost and alone than before. We strive for happiness through things or numb our pain through destructive behavior, but the result is the same. We are burdened with an emptiness and a sensation of isolation even in the midst of a crowd.

Have you been there? Are you there now?

The good news is that there is hope for all of us! Our God is the most gracious of Hosts. He invites us to come and sit at His table. It doesn't matter if we are young or old -- He welcomes us just the same. He looks past the color of our skin, the length of our hair and the style of our clothes and sees right to our hearts. He knows our scars, our pain and our fears. And regardless of where we've been, or where we are, His invitation is the same.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28.)

What a wonderful promise that is! No matter who we are, where we come from or what baggage we carry, when we answer His invitation to come to Him, He welcomes us with open arms. And there, when seated at His table, we will find a banquet filled with forgiveness, acceptance, and love.

Accepted by Him,  

"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God" (Ephesians 3:17-19).