If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand and one times and it's true, "No matter what you're going through, there's someone out there who is going through worse."
At the moment, when we're in the thick of the battle and our world seems to be coming up scrambled eggs and hash browns smothered, covered and chunked, all we can see in that moment is our own plate.
Is that so wrong after all? I'd say not. I think there are moments in life when it's alright to sit down in the cold booth with a scalding cup of over-brewed coffee and not be able to see anyone's plate except our own. It's not that we're being oblivious to all the other diners in the room. It is simply time to try to digest what life has thrown our way.
It is true that there are others out there with far greater problems and hopeless situations than we find ourselves facing. Yet,we can be assured, even in the wild drama of our lives, there is someone there who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities, (Heb. 4:15) and who invites us to cast our cares upon Him; (1 Pet. 5:7). someone who knows every detail of our lives, even the number of hairs on our heads. (Matt. 10:30) Jesus is willing to sit in that booth with us on those cold, dreary days when nothing seems to be going right in our lives. A compassionate, loyal friend who will be by our side even when the rest of the world seems to have walked out. He is all about "us". He isn't afraid that we'll be "too much" for Him, in fact, He happily joins us at the table if we'll invite Him.
The reason I think it's alright to sit back and get wrapped up in our own plate for a bit is simply because if we fully devote ourselves to tasting every bite, while deciding with each bite whether to savor or cast it away, we are experiencing life and learning.
During those meals when our taste buds aren't exactly doing the two-step, we have the opportunity to allow something dynamic to happen within us that may very well change the course of a lifetime.
Remember, although we're the one sitting behind our plate, there are others all around us who have their own customized orders too. We've already admitted to that. Perhaps it's not on today, but some day, after you're plate has been cleared away, you'll eventually find that the very experience you endured may lead you to be more compassionate and considerate when you see someone else who may be partaking of a similar dish. (2 Cor 1:4) Jesus desires to help us through so that we can return to that table at a later time to "wait on", to help and encourage, someone else who finds themselves struggling.
My friend, if your food is cold and you find it less-than-tasteful, remember someone else is going to be served up the same way and what you take away from this table in life might very well be the tools you need to help someone else down the road. Even if your meals aren't identical and perhaps that person reaching out to you is in more (or less) desperate times than you found for yourself before, what God allows you to glean through your own experiences are meant to serve others.
Go ahead, be all about your own meal right now. It's completely OK.
Later, you might be able to add a touch of sweetness to someone's bitter cup.
Perhaps at a later time, you'll be able to sit down with someone else who is trying to digest their own scrambled, scattered life issues. What if we could be instrumental in bringing a touch of encouragement to their lives? That's what it's all about! Your receipt says you've endured...now, you have the opportunity to pay it forward for someone else.
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38