1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray constantly.
John 15:4 – Be connected to Jesus constantly.
Andrew Murray addresses this constant communion with God in his book Abide in Christ:
“Is it possible for the believer always to abide in Jesus? Is a life of unbroken fellowship with the Son of God indeed attainable here in this earthly life? Truly not, if the abiding is our work, to be done in our strength. But the things that are impossible with men are possible with God. If the Lord Himself will keep the soul night and day, yea, will watch and water it every moment, then surely the uninterrupted communion with Jesus becomes a blessed possibility to those who can trust God to mean and to do what He says. Then surely the abiding of the branch of the vine day and night, summer and winter, in a neverceasing life – fellowship, is nothing less than the simple but certain promise of your abiding in your Lord.”
Recently, I had a difficult morning with my kids. This was no mere slow morning. The countdown to afternoon nap time began before breakfast. Hasn’t any time elapsed yet? Why is it still 8 am? A pause and look of sympathy from my husband as he leaves for work. Away from these two children.
We are home schooling, but clearly no education of the formal kind was going to take place today…and formal education is still play-based around here. The only education was going to be me modeling behavior and response in the face of aggravation. Oh, so many opportunities.
The four year old tearfully tells me he needs “lots of guggles” (our family word for cuddles). However, he must not be touched by the two year old…who suddenly also requires guggles. So I enter strategic parent mode, keep several steps ahead…devise the plan while reading the nearest book to distract the gugglers from the insufficient size of my lap.
Oh, the 30 minute activity took 10 minutes? I’m running behind. Trains! Blocks! Puppet show! Did I mention I’m an introvert and I find it tiresome to be highly animated even with my own children? More books, tea party…snack is usually at 11 but it’s only 10 o’clock now. I can do 10:30 without too much disruption to the daily rhythm, but how do we kill those dreadful 30 minutes? They tick by in slow motion. More diversions, books, “Let’s take a walk!” Sunshine and fresh air. At last it is lunch time.
A few decades later and it was finally after 1 pm, nearly time for their afternoon nap. Amazingly, despite the chaffing, constant neediness from my kids, I wasn’t gritting my teeth. Nor had I been sharp or on edge with them all day. In fact, I had been quite calm.
Here is where I should say that my reliance on God got me through the day. But there was no conscious turning to Him this morning. There were no prayers, no conscious calling to God for His help. That’s a problem. This particular morning I had the outward appearance of a godly life but I wasn’t internally experiencing God’s presence.
In the calm right before nap time, I reflected on my day and wrote these thoughts. It was then that I prayed and thanked God that He is indeed faithful, being present with me even when I was not faithful to seek Him in those moments. I felt that in spite of my failure to abide with God, He gently reminded me “if we are faithless He remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). Although this verse is talking about a broader application of a whole life, I found it resonated with me in this smaller application.
Andrew Murray wrote this encouraging piece:
“Abiding in Jesus is not a work that needs each moment the mind to be engaged, or the affections to be directly and actively occupied with it. It is an entrusting of oneself to the keeping of the Eternal Love, in the faith that it will abide near us, and with its holy presence watch over us and ward off evil, even when we have to be most intently occupied with other things. And so the heart has rest and peace and joy in the consciousness of being kept when it cannot keep itself.”
Can you think of times when you experienced God’s faithfulness in spite of your own faithlessness? Did it inspire you to seek greater closeness and express gratitude?
Image by Mary Cassatt, 1844-1926