Abide or Visit?

AbideThe word abide has become so religiously common that we are tempted to ignore its essence: to stay in a given place, state, relationship; to continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, tarry… Recently when I approached the rocking chair that has become my morning meeting place with God, I glanced at the clock. “How much time do I have before leaving for that appointment?” DID I REALLY SAY THAT??? Do I regularly look at this morning time with God as a mere visit? Am I so ruled by clock and calendar that the words stay, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, tarry are not even considered?

Jesus’ commands to abide in Him, to have His words abide in us are wrought with meaning that goes far beyond my morning time with Him. And yet… Is not that daily time an indication of my entire life with Him? Too often that time is ruled not only by the clock, but by habit that has been anything but “spiritual.” I follow the rules: read the next chapter in the Bible, scan the day’s devotional, go through my prayer list, ask God to bless my day and AMEN.

Two of Jesus’ heavy-hearted disciples were emotionally exhausted from the events of recent days. Their precious Jesus had been beaten, mocked, crucified and buried. They had heard the amazing reports from companions who had seen the empty tomb as well as the story from the women “who told us that they seen a vision of angels,” but it was just too much to believe. Their world with all its hopes and dreams had disintegrated.

And then Jesus—flesh and blood Jesus—appears to them and tells them “the rest of the story.” They want to hear more and so they invite Him for a meal. They “urge him strongly.”  “Stay with us… So He went in to stay with them.” There’s that word: stay, remain, abide. Clocks as we know them weren’t on their tables, but I’m firmly convinced they didn’t look impatiently at shadows on the sundial or grains of sand  trickling in the hourglass during the meal with Jesus. I’m sure they begged him to stay—remain, abide, tarry—even longer. After He left, they were so excited that they tossed their Emmaus travel plan, returned to Jerusalem and shouted, “It’s true! The Lord has risen!!”

When was the last time you tarried with Jesus? Not speaking, not reading. No lists, no books. No clocks or calendars. Just present with Him. Try it for five minutes. Tell Him you want to abide, not visit. Just this once.

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