Fruitful Thoughts on Abiding

Now that the weather has warmed, I’ve made it a daily practice to sit outside in the morning with my devotions and coffee. What a big difference this small thing does to settle the soul. I listen to the birds and look at the trees in bloom. Yesterday, the noisy geese honked by. This morning, a boisterous crow cawed his way through the trees. There is a beautiful pink blooming tree off to the right side of my deck. I purposely turn my chair to face it, so I can admire its bursting color.

I’ve been reading a devotional about Abiding in Christ . It’s an old classic by Andrew Murray (the linked title will take you to it, if you are interested). The book is rich in the Word and fruitful thinking about what it means to abide. I find that I am reading and re-reading the daily devotions, hungry to glean all that I can from the text. It is somewhat difficult to grasp; parts seems beyond my reach in my current position. But I find the best books challenge us in this way. So, I keep reading, meditating, and cross-checking the passages referenced in my Bible . I find it helps to read the passage yourself too, and let it marinate along with the commentary.

One thing keeps coming to the surface for me. It’s not a new revelation about myself. Rather, it is a recurring theme in my life. I am a producer. By that, I mean I am action-oriented. I have trouble sitting still, and even more trouble with mental stillness, even when I am physically still. Something has been happening as I stare at the beautiful pink fruit of the tree before me each morning. First, the pink bloom didn’t last long. Within a week, the blooms were receding. My deck was covered with pink petals, where the wind had blown and scattered them. I’ve been wondering at all the tree goes through the rest of the year to produce those beautiful blooms for one glorious week. Is the tree any less a tree when not in bloom? It can’t sustain the bloom for longer than allotted. The bloom is but one short part of the tree’s life.

“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:6-8).

So, I’ve been contemplating my life in its seasons. Realizing the brevity of the bloom, feeling less pressure to produce, more peace in abiding in Him. I struggle daily to keep hold of this Word of truth. One chapter of the devotional on wisdom really helped me. I have read it several times, and will keep reading it in the hope that more will seep into my soul. Murray says, “The life you have in Christ is a thing of infinite sacredness, far too high and holy for you to know how to act it out”.

There it is. It is the “know-how” and the “acting out” that always gets me. Deceived at believing this is possible, even preferable to my life in Christ. We always want to know more than we do, don’t we? As if our life can be figured out, like a puzzle. We are constantly rearranging its pieces, trying to see the bigger picture. What if we just entrusted the bigger picture of our lives to Him? What if we stopped reaching for things beyond us – far too high and holy to figure out?  What if we began to see how our searching undermines the very peace of abiding? 

Because it does. I am sure of it.

The very nature of abiding is to be content in every season. To know your life is not always meant to be in full bloom. The tree has many other stages and changes to undergo that make the short cycle blooming possible. I sense the significance in embracing this truth.

One more quote from Murray that has had a powerful impact in my morning meditation, “Motives are mighty powers; it is of infinite importance to have them high and clear”. Rather than seeking to understand our high and holy life in Christ, we need to go lower. Examine the roots of our trees. What is it that makes us seek beyond where God has planted us? What makes us long to make something happen that is out of sync with the season? Motive is the culprit. I am examining mine in the clear morning sun of spring. And amazed at how God uses something so small and brief as a tree in bloom to teach me so much about abiding in Him. This is the beauty of our Lord. More radiant than spring in bloom, the Living Word that reigns in every season.

 

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