As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love.- John 15:9
What does it mean to abide? In biblical terms, abide means to wait patiently for, to remain in place, to continue to be sure or firm, and to endure. (www.abibleaday.com/bible-dictionary/abide/)
In times when we are feeling very uncertain and fearful, it is even more important, for the Christian community, to try and stay in communion with our Lord. I believe our faith truly is the factor that keeps us in a place that is full of hope and confidence, a place where we do not despair, even when we are afraid. I think it is unrealistic to say that we who trust in the Lord will not be afraid. We are human and we have human feelings – one of which is fear. But we do not have to allow that fear to swallow us up and take control of our lives.
We are still in the season of Lent and the wilderness is certainly a prominent place – especially in this present time. We are confined to our homes for the most part. We are asked to distance ourselves from others so, in a big way, it feels like we might be walking this wilderness journey alone. Of course, we know we are not. Millions of people around the world are joining together in different ways to make a difference – with live streaming worship services, all types of music, with inspirational stories, with words of encouragement – the list goes on and on. Thanks to the internet and social media we have a sense of community even when we are “sheltering in place.” Yet, it is still hard and we are feeling vulnerable, alone, and somewhat fearful of what is going to happen – if not to me, to the ones I love. (For most of us, that is in reverse order).
Jesus was talking to his disciples at a time when they were very afraid. He was trying to prepare them for this death – a horrific death – and his being gone from them physically. He is telling them to abide in him – stay close to his Word and his teachings.
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. John 15:9-11
You see, even in the midst of fearful circumstances, Jesus is saying we can have joy – HIS joy. We can have the joy of the Lord even in difficult times. We might experience fear and uncertainty but because of the love we know we have in Christ, and the salvation and security we have in eternal life because of his great love and sacrifice for us, we can have joy.
I’m not talking about some giddy, surface, unrealistic happiness. I’m talking about a deep-seeded, internal, soul-filling love and joy that is ours only because of Christ.
Abide in him. wait patiently for him, remain faithful and firm in your trust in Jesus for he will fill you with his joy in this hour of need.
If you are reading this and are uncertain about what I’m talking about; if you sincerely want to know how to find this joy in the midst of fear; if want to understand what it means to follow Christ, I truly would love to talk with you. So, write to me and I will answer. Talk to God and He will answer.
Peace and Grace,