There is work being wrought within me while I wait, while I labor—the unseen, important work of God’s spirit . . . this gestating work is just as essential as that which I am anticipating to receive or achieve.
In a world where getting ahead and moving toward marked achievement is valued most, I can lose sight. As a mama, I can lose sight because of what sure arrivals have not come, or what goals have not been met, or what heartaches I am bearing again today. These outward realities can wear, and I grow weary. At first glance, I can wonder if I am getting anywhere, or when sure arrival will come . . .
I can lose sight of the importance of each day of this journey—of abiding in Christ—the call to abide in him despite what my naked eye sees.
Because isn’t it back in the beginning that you and I are told of the distinction of our original design? “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). He breathed his very breath into this mama. Yes, I am dust of the earth, but from the beginning it was the closeness of his breath that made all the animated, remarkable difference. His desire was closeness from the very start and is now. This is what makes the essential difference in my days. He abides with me, and I am not left adrift without progress toward the mark of this high calling.
As he unfolds the light of his presence (Psalm 89:15) each morning, I can be gloriously assured that, because of his very light and breath within, I am being filled, being empowered, and being changed. If I abide in him and he in me, I enter into worshipful, expectant, holy progress―this is a matter entirely different than that of outward, dusty marks of achievement, or diagnosis or progress. How faithful is his presence!
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Henry Lyte, 1847