“As the Father loved Me, I also 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.” John 15:9-10
Being in the valley of the shadow of death for a season has shown me the immense value of abiding in Jesus. For the last seven weeks I’ve depended upon the fruit of many years of abiding in the Lord. Prayer has not been a challenge for me, but at times spending focused disciplined time in the Word has been nearly impossible. The implanted Word has sustained me and poured out of me during this time.
Like most of us, I’ve lived a checkered life of abiding – at times firmly connected to the vine and at other times wondering if I’m going to be pruned away due to my inattention. But over the course of my life the overall theme and activity has been that of an abiding relationship with the Lord. Another aspect of this abiding is that even in those desert times when I’ve been struggling in my relationship with the Lord, I have remained attached to His Body – the church. Since I gave my life to Jesus at age 17 I’ve never been away from the church for more than a few weeks.
In the midst of this crisis time God has continued to pour His love and care into my life through His Saints. Dear friends from Suburban and from churches throughout our community and country have been in constant communication through cards, emails, Facebook, phone calls, and visits. I know without a doubt that prayer is raised on my behalf continually. Upon my recent return to Corvallis from Jacob’s home, four of my friends came to me to bring me information from the recent Prayer Summit that I missed and to pray over me in response to the needs that I expressed to them. What a blessing! As they prayed I pictured me abiding in the vine and then being further attached via their individual attachments to Jesus as they laid hands on me to pray.
I can’t imagine going through this grief without a deep attachment to the Lord and His people.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:10-12