Abide: When Stillness is not a Suggestion
God is funny sometimes. Last month, I asked God what our intention for March should be. He told me, “In January you focused on being a new creation in me. In February, you focused on just how thorough my genuine love for you is. In March, I just want you to abide in those truths. Soak in them. Meditate on who you are in me and who I am to you.”
I loved it. Holy Spirit goosebumps and all, I gathered my scriptures and set out to try to lead us into what it means to abide in Christ. As I was gathering those scriptures, I noticed that the charge to abide and be still is not a suggestion for special circumstances, it is a command for daily living. Abiding with God, or not, is a choice and all choices have consequences. I began diving into what that meant and I felt the nudge, “stillness is not a suggestion.” Whoa. Let that mic drop sit and marinate in your soul for a moment…
As I was letting that settle and wrapping my mind around what it meant, stillness indeed became NOT A SUGGESTION. Enter, the first nationwide chaos, pandemic, social distancing, TP shortage, What-the-what-is-even-happening that I and even those in generations before me have ever seen. As humans, we say we want more time to sit and be still, but when it is forced upon us panic ensues. I fear we have forgotten how to erase things from our calendar and we don’t know what to do when we can’t stay “busy”. Martha doesn’t know how to be Mary, and when you take her broom away from her, she doesn’t know what to do with her hands.
These are the words God placed on my heart for this month: Psalm 37:7, John 8:12, Job 24:13, John 15:4, John 15:6, 1 Corinthians 13:13, 1 John 4:8, and Psalm 46:10
“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Others have been with those who rebel against the light; nor abide in its paths. Abide in Jesus, and He in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Jesus. If anyone does not abide in Jesus, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Be still, and know that He is God!”
There are consequences to choosing to stay too busy to stay in God’s presence. Things happen when we are unwilling to be still and know who He really is. He is the light that can guide us out of darkness, if we will turn our eyes to Him. Not everyone makes the choice to turn toward the light, preferring to stumble in darkness, thinking they can find their way all by themselves. I for one, cannot navigate this life on my own. I need Jesus to guide me through, and THEN not only does he gently guide me, but He allows ME to bear fruit for the benefit of others! A branch cannot bear fruit without adequate light. If I refuse to sit in the light, my branch will simply dry up, useful for nothing more than kindling. Instead, I choose to rest in love, to know love, and thus to know my vine. What does it take to know? Rest, abide, sit, stay. Give God the opportunity to show you.
God placed these words on my heart yesterday at church in response to the current situation. The scriptures can be found in John 10:10, Romans 8:28, 2 Timothy 1:7, Psalm 46:10, and Philippians 4:7.
“The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus came to give life and life more abundant. We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. Therefore, be still and know that He is God, and the peace of God (which surpasses all understanding) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I do not believe God sent the virus. I believe maybe the enemy sent it, or maybe it just happened because sickness is part of a fallen world. Either way, the enemy saw an opportunity to create chaos and panic and he is going for it. All the while though, I believe God is sitting with maybe a slight smirk (that’s how I picture God sometimes, just stick with me). I believe God is saying, “Oh he thinks he has something this time, just wait and see what I will do with this….” And He is watching, waiting for His church to rise to the occasion. Brothers and sisters, we have a choice and opportunity to partner with God as He turns this around for good. We get to be His hands and feet. We can choose now to cower or rise. I choose rise. Rise with me.