I am sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, waiting for them to let me know that Janet is awake and okay after her exam. No, there’s nothing wrong that we know of – just the fact that the time is here when she needed to make her periodic visit to the digestive health doc. And that’s not something that anybody looks forward to, so she decided to get it out of the way before the holidays. I, on the other hand, have already been through the procedure three times and in another 3 years, my turn comes around again. But I’ve had polyps and things, all benign, so they keep pretty close tabs on me.
Anyway, the office is in the neighborhood and much friendlier than going to the hospital. Kristin, our oldest daughter, and I have also been here so I know the routine. They were a little late in taking Janet back and the nurse told me that I might as well leave and return in several hours. Janet has something of a difficult time with anesthesia and so they predicted it would take her a little longer to wake up. So I headed out to the post office and to fill Janet’s car with fuel. I was only gone about 15 minutes; I just didn’t feel right leaving her. What if something went wrong? What if she was done early and I wasn’t there? I just didn’t feel right being gone, so I came back to the office and and am once again sitting here. And I intend to remain here until we leave – together.
I read an article on the King James Bible in the December issue of National Geographic here in the lobby. It was a great piece and the pictures of the original Bible pages were just beautiful. In fact, Janet and I have several pages from an original 1611 King James pulpit Bible from our friends, the Byrds. We have Genesis I and Matthew I; the first pages from both testaments. They are quite rare, especially the Genesis page, but they are magnificent to look at and to read in the older version of the English language.
When I went through seminary, I had to do all my work from the King James Version of the Bible. No NIV or NASB for me. And all the Greek had to be from what we call the TR; the Textus Receptus. So my education was really pure when it came to the Scriptures. And while I sometimes teach from newer versions of the Bible, occasionally, I just wish to read from the KJV – somehow it just resonates with me. Anyway, I was reading how the head of Westminster Abbey grew up on the KJV, then switched to the newer versions and has recently returned to his roots – the trustworthy King James. He used an example of one of the beautiful verses in the Bible – from the Christmas story. And it included the word “abide.” I was so taken with the verse that I am choosing it for today’s post – but that’s a couple of paragraphs down from here.
It was the very word that I was thinking about earlier this morning. Most of us don’t realize it, but to “abide” means to “remain” or to “stay.” And that’s exactly what I am doing right now – staying with Janet; or in the older English, “abiding” with her. Why? Because I love her… I have an abiding love for her that transcends time and space. My heart is with her. Period.
It occurs to me that this is the same thing that Christ wants for us. He wants us to abide in Him, and He in us. That’s the whole idea of accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. Because God, at some point in your life, softens your heart and opens you up to the possibility of accepting Christ. And when you do that, the Holy Spirit indwells you, or put another way, “abides” in you forever. So, God remains with us and in us. It’s really quite beautiful, don’t you think? Abiding love…..
During the birth of Christ, we are told in Luke 2:8, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Why? Because they cared for the flock and wanted to make sure that the sheep were never in danger – they even slept with the sheep. And it’s the same with the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ. He abides in us and with us through all our trials and tribulations. He’s always there.
John, the beloved friend and disciple of Jesus, tells us in 1 John 2:24, “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.” In other words, stay with what you know to be true about what you have heard about God; and you will always abide with Him.
My encouragement today is to affirm that God wants to abide in you; that has been His most fervent hope since the beginning. And He sent His Son, Jesus, whose birth we celebrate this month, as the way for us to have eternal life. My prayer is that if you don’t already have an abiding relationship with God, that you will consider the possibility. And if you have already accepted the offer of eternal life, then you may want to thank God this Christmas season for the gift of His abiding love. It’s really something very special…..