Learning to abide

Learning to abide
A friend and I were walking on the beach a few weekends ago, and she told me about her daily life as a medical resident. Unlike the folks on “Grey’s Anatomy” who walk in through the hospital doors during daylight, she said that she often didn’t see the sunshine. She came in before sunrise. And each day, she had the lives of patients in her hands — that’s pressure. But she got through the day. Barely. Then she left the hospital way after sunset. And she wondered where God was in it all.

I can’t think she’s alone. I’m in ministry, a profession where God is supposed to be quite involved. And yet, I practically act like a card-carrying atheist as I go through my day, answering emails, counseling students, training staff — it all can happen without a sense of God in my daily life. So if ministers can feel that way, then I’m sure that most of the living population — even those who attend Sunday church services devoutly — feel like God is quite far away and disinterested in what we do for a living.

But a co-worker of mine reminded me that Jesus calls us to “remain” in him. Older versions of the Bible say “abide.” It’s the sense of sticking with someone, no matter what. Through thick and thin. Or perhaps, in our day and age, through car and cubicle. So, remain in Jesus. In fact, he’s always around us. Christians are walking temples, places where God chooses to live, places where heaven and earth intersect. That’s who we are. As C. S. Lewis once wrote, there are no ordinary people.

So each moment, I’m trying to learn how to abide. I’m a slow learner. But more than spending an hour with Jesus before the day starts, and then forgetting him for the other 23, perhaps we can find ways to remind ourselves that Jesus is with us — all the time. We need to abide. So when I’m stuck in meetings I don’t want to be at, I just remember to abide. “I’m abiding in Jesus right now,” I’d tell myself. And I smile, knowing that the heavens rush around me.