I’ve been spending the last week trying to come up with a blog to write. There have been good thoughts and ideas, but none seem to really stick. I mean really, how do I truly describe to you what it is like to be in a strictly Islamic nation where it is illegal to share the Gospel? How do I tell you of the hours I spend daily with fellow believers in prayer over this nation, the nations of the world, and the issues of my heart? What words can I possibly use to help you understand the pain of seeing a newborn infant who was abandoned only moments ago in an overcrowded orphanage?
The truth is, there are no words that will truly describe all the thoughts and emotions that have swarmed my heart and mind. I use the word “swarmed” because that is exactly how it feels. I feel cluttered with it all sometimes. In the prayer room, I feel the love and embrace of my God who deeply cares for me. A few hours later, I feel exhaustion as I pull one child off of the other in the orphanage where there are children aging from infant to teenager and many with special needs. One moment, I believe God can do anything and the next, I’m questioning why He didn’t heal the homeless man with Down’s Syndrome and a body riddled with Elephant’s Disease when we prayed for him. What can I do when my emotions feel like a raging sea?
I meditate on this word a lot these days. What does it mean to abide in Christ? What does it look like to actually have a relationship with Father God that is defined as “abiding restful union?”
There are many times that I feel it is my responsibility to make something happen. This Muslim should become a Christian if I am to be “successful” in evangelism. If that man doesn’t get healed when I pray for him, then something must be wrong with my prayers. I need numbers and statistics to tell me if I’m really doing this “Christian” thing right. If something doesn’t happen then I have done it wrong and I better evaluate what’s going on so I can be better. I want rules so I know if/when I’ve broken them. I need laws to tell me how to punish myself and others for not living up to it.
I don’t think we would actually voice these things but I would venture to say most of us have thought them at some point. I know I have, and in the not-so-distant past. In frustration, I went to God with them and He answered with this simple command:
“Cease striving and know I am God.” Psalm 46:10
His voice came in like the gentle tide and said, “When you abide in Me and I in you, much fruit is borne.” John 15 tells us that we are part of a vine, we being the branches. Branches don’t really work at making fruit. That’s a byproduct of being attached to the vine. Likewise, we are not called to strive to make a tremendous ministry with thousands saved and healed (don’t get me wrong, I TOTALLY want that). I am called to live in deep, intimate relationship with the Source of life, and the byproduct will be fruit. To the measure that we are restfully attached to the Vine is the measure we will produce.
We don’t abide so we can get the results. In fact, that is merely a hypocritical form of work. If we are only spending time with Holy Spirit is to get that great fruit He has, we’ve completely missed the point. We abide so we can commune with Him. The goal is to have more of Him in me every time I leave the prayer room. More of His love invading the crevices of my broken heart. More of His joy strengthening my weak knees. More of His peace guarding my heart and mind.