Learning to Abide

John 1:29-42

Confession time: I have built a habit over many years of learning about God so as to have tastes and appetizers instead of going straight to God and waiting with Him for His Presence, gathering a whole meal of manna.

Instead of coming home with Him to sit at His feet, I circumnavigate the outskirts.  Perhaps I’m like the disciples of John listening to prophetic words about the Lamb of God but not stepping out of the comfortable discipleship of the prophet to search for He who is unknown, He who is greater.

Sometimes I read books about God, listen to sermons, thinking they are an end in themselves, loving the “aha” moment, the road to God getting cleared of debris.

But am I seeing the Word from afar and only listening to mumblings about him?  This is the question.

Wow, and the truth is hitting home now.  It is as if I am a homeless one satisfied with this huddled warming of my hands over a candle when I am free to open the door, draw close to the fire and sit with the Lamb of God Himself.

Abide with me and I will abide with you. (Jn 15:4)

I have always convinced myself that I want pure God of pure God when perhaps some days what I really want is the hunted thrift store find to stuff my already full closet with more knowledge, more self-revelation, more… pride.

And here the question goes deeper? Do I really want to go home with God to sit at His feet still, emptying of agenda, pouring out my hands, and offering myself, poor of spirit?

Andrew and the other disciple of John’s follow the One, but some did not and would I make the trek across town and have the courage to ask, where are you staying?  Would I have the courage to wait and hear Him say, “Come and See?” and then follow Him into riches where there are treasures of heaven, but not of earth.

The two are received into companionship, communion with God Himself, offered a simple but exceedingly vulnerable “Come and See” where the door to the simple dwelling place of God, the sleeping mat, the table, the chair is opened wide in an intimate gesture of friendship.

They are not meeting at a neutral Starbucks where each keep their lives defined, feeling out whether there is a future for this new acquaintance.  They are ushered right into the room where Jesus is staying.

He has opened the door when they “knocked” showing us how to do the same…to risk intimacy.

My dear friend, Linda, comes each morning to her time with God armed only a cup of hot coffee and whispers “Abba” and sits still in His Presence.  She comes without journal and without agenda but always with expectation that He will meet her there.

She tells of the day when He told her just to come with that simple mug of coffee and how awkward and fumbling she felt not to be weighted with books and worship music and journal which had been the habit for finding daily bread.  The awkwardness lifted slowly and she became hungry not for IT but for Him.  She says it felt like walking through a torn veil.

Do I often come to a “quiet time” as I might to a morning conversation with my husband about schedules and overlapping to do lists? I come with the attitude of,”Let’s get this done so I can pack the lunch box full, get dressed, guide the kids through the maze of morning tasks.”

We hit all the necessary bullet points but entirely miss the relationship.  In my quiet time, I often hit all the truths I need to be full, nourished, stomach packed, but miss the Bread of Life Himself.

In the afternoon, when my toddler goes down for a nap, I rest too using contemplative centering prayer but so often even there I come with a to do list, an agenda, multi-tasking always.  I sit taking deep breaths, drinking refreshment, but honestly, what I want is to hear from God about a question that’s been festering or I want direction, to hear the Voice leading ten more steps down the road.

Finally, about ten minutes in, my shoulders drop and so do my walls and I remember the invitation to “Be Still and Know that I am God.”  I open my fingers and my agenda slips through and I am empty, poor in spirit.

My purpose is to love God and enjoy Him forever.  Period.  Everything else can wait.  I abide.  Fruit will come.  Because here is my peace and He is my peace and the search is over and I am home.

Summer Gross

Thanksgiving:
a whooping big celebration of Grandpa’s 98 1/2 years of life,
grieving Grandpa’s death
hearing of salvation, my Grandfather, a channel for God’s grace
the gift of remembering His support, his hand on my back at ordination, his prayer
family packed with joy and stories
children able to attach roots, getting rich nourishment

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