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“Unless You Abide in Me…” You cannot abide this life!
In this season, we all need encouragement to abide with God, come-what-may. The following words from Kay Baker do this in the most beautiful way. May you find your spirit encouraged as you read about what God is doing in her life.
Retired from a career as an executive assistant, Kay enjoys studying the Scriptures and leaning into a life dedicated to her Lord. As a short-term missionary, she loves serving Christian workers in the developing world.
At the beginning of each new year, I wait anxiously to hear from the Lord about what He wants to teach me during the next twelve months.
In early 2022, the word abide kept popping up at every turn. To be honest, I was a little confused about what this meant.
For the past two years, like most (if not all) of the world, my life was interrupted by the Covid pandemic. It has been a season of my mission ministry being on hold. I’ve struggled with how to continue to serve God during this time; and it has been personally hard!
The enemy has enjoyed playing mind games with me, telling me there is nothing for me to do, that my ministry is defeated, and it will never be the same again.
He is right on one count—it will never be the same, because God is doing something new in me, giving me new purpose and opening-up new opportunities. He is teaching me to be okay with new things, and new ways.
Today, I’m resting in the confidence of being His, and knowing that I am completely dependent on Him. I am entirely okay with that.
That is saying something for a control freak who loves planning and spreadsheets with a passion! But I have discovered there is a connection between abiding and waiting.
To abide is to stay, remain, and wait. In fact, the Hebrew language defines ‘to abide’ as an interpersonal relationship and being in a shared space. In other words, when we abide in Him, we are sharing his space, and He is sharing ours.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” John 15.4 (NASB)
So, in the abiding, I don’t just soak up this season of rest. To bear fruit, I need to receive nourishment from the source of my strength; I must wait to hear His direction during an interrupted time of ministry.
It is allowing His direction to be my direction; permitting Him to enter relationship with me, transforming me for my current circumstances.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43.18-19 (NIV)
It has taken me a little time to realize that in the “normal” of my day—walking in my neighborhood or along the ocean storefronts of my winter home down south—I am encountering broken, tired, and discouraged people in need of love, encouragement, and even salvation.
I see God doing a new thing in and through me.
It is certainly a different form of ministry than pre-Covid was. I’m not even sure what to call it, but most of the time it’s a one-on-one situation; often with someone He puts on my heart to befriend and minister to!
Just last evening, a friend dropped by. Now, this friend is polytheistic (believes in many gods). After a three-hour conversation, I felt exhausted and like I hadn’t had much to offer of benefit. Then, I realized what they required was a friend to be present now, care about what they were going through, and listen. Sometimes, ministry is simply listening!
I will admit the relationship with this friend is spiritually challenging. In fact, we sometimes have quite spirited conversations, but I believe God brought this family into my life for the purpose of being a witness to them.
So, if this season is about taking my ministry to the streets, as I walk, I’ll abide in Him. And, if I someday get back to what I was doing pre-Covid, I will still be abiding.