“Abide in me, and I in you…” John 15:4
“…in thy presence is fulness of joy;…” Psalm 16:11
Nearly 25 years sober, I recall my drinking days so clearly. I didn’t bar hop just to quench my alcoholic thirst. I couldn’t stay still. Whatever bar I was in, I worried maybe there was another bar with more to offer. Shouldn’t I be there? Restless. Always moving. To the next drink. Next man. Next bar. To get somewhere I could never find. To something I could never name. Whenever I got “there”, to whatever or whomever “it” was, I was dissatisfied. Not still. Still restless. How could I ever arrive wherever “there” was? Now that I follow sweet Jesus, I still struggle. Sure, the words have changed. Not alcohol, men, bars. New words. Pray, God’s will, seek His face, hear Him, study His Word, honor, please, and glorify Him, ministry, who will read what I write, evangelism, etc. Why is it so hard to be still? What am I missing? So often I feel I need to get somewhere, to accomplish something, to change NOW, to serve God in a new way, to figure out His will for my future, to get it all done NOW. Not bar hopping. But still hopping around. Seeking something. When I need to seek Him. I’m learning. Slowly. But faithfully. Diligently. One day I said this to God. “I am afraid I won’t get where you want me to go,” I told Him with a discouraged, albeit humbled heart. His answer blew me away.
“What if where I want you to go is where you already are? You keep looking for a place to go. A destination. I am where I want you to be. To abide in me. Your relationship with me is more important than anything you will ever do on this earth. Stop looking for a place to go. Enjoy where you are. Eternal life has already begun yet you look elsewhere. You have access to me all the day and night long. Yet much of your time you spend trying to get somewhere, to achieve, to get to a new place. This is not what I desire. You can be right here in this moment with me but instead you choose so much of the time to live elsewhere. Do you want to abide? Abide in me. The secret place in psalm 91 is where you can be perpetually when you believe in me. Why not be there? What you will accomplish when you rest in me and focus on our relationship more than anything else will far surpass anything you will ever accomplish when you set out in your flesh with your own plan. The way you can most honor me is to seek my presence and to experience my love and my dwelling in you above all else. This honors me because it shows me you value me more than anything you will ever do on this earth including that which you will do for me. Devote yourself to learning to be in my presence each and every breath.”
I am learning. Oh, what joy to be in His glorious presence! What peace! What hope! What unfathomable endless love! Oh, to abide in Christ!