God calls us to abide.
Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, netiher can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15: 4.
Abide. It’s a verb, which implies action or doing. Only when I hear Jesus telling me to abide, I don’t sense him asking me to DO. I sense him asking me to BE.
He’s asking me to BE in him.
BE close to him.
BE in prayer with him.
BE in his word.
BE his chosen daughter.
But in the trial, Lord? Do you call me to abide even in the trial?
“Yes, in the trial”, he responds. He tells me my trials produce fruit when I abide in him. Oh, I do want my trials to produce fruit.
A few weeks back I had a kidney transplant. The surgery had been a long time coming. Almost 18 years ago, I was diagnosed with an ultra rare disease call aHUS. You can read more about that here: Where Was God in All of This–Part I
The disease wreaked havov on my kidneys but not enough to cause complete failure. I lived with anywhere between 10 and 25% kidney function for all of that time. Finally it came time for a fresh start, a kidney transplant.
Surgery went well and I was incredibly overcome by the blessing of the donor and the family. I was in awe of their selflessness in the time of sorrow. I was in awe of the Father orchestrating the whole process. And, I was in awe of the human body and the surgeons the Lord created to perform such a surgery.
But, then the trial came. And the thought came, will this trial produce fruit or bitterness?
After coming home from the hospital, I woke up the next morning with incredible pain. I knew something wasn’t right. At first I just cried. But, then I began crying out to God with my pain and begging Him to take it. “Please God, take this pain away!”
The pain intensified. I went to the emergency room. The pain grew worse. My begging words to God grew more frequent. But, the pain remained.
In the midst of this pain, I found a peace in abiding in God. He wasn’t taking the pain. But, this time in this trial, I trusted. I knew the Lord could take the pain. But, I have chosen to accept His sovereignty. So, I knew without a doubt, He had a purpose for not taking the pain.
Although, I didn’t stop asking Him to take the pain, I added to my prayer, “Please show me what I need to know about this pain. Help me to have your wisdom and understanding, even for a moment.”
I could abide. Doubled over in pain, for the first time in my life, I could abide. I could remain in Him. I could continue to trust through the tears. I could continue to believe in His plan. I could have faith in His love for me and my family.
God did take the pain. But, not before He revealed to me the truths about which I write: that He is good, He is never surprised, and He will never leave me.
Dear One, I know it hurts. You may be experiencing emotional, physical, or spiritual pain. Or maybe you are experiencing all three. I get it. How do you abide in the Lord, when it seems that He isn’t answering your prayer? How do you abide? You walk with Him and remain with Him through the triumphs and the pain. You seek His heart for you. You remember His faithfulness in the past. Don’t worry if it’s not automatic. One day, you may just find yourself in the midst of a trial, and realize you are abiding, you are believing, and you are accepting His plan for your life as the best plan available.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 2-4