I rise early, only to jolt back awake a few minutes later this time on the couch instead of my bed.
Lord Jesus. How am I to learn of you, when I can’t seem to stay awake? Sheesh! Help!
And I groggily begin reading the words of Day 3, Abide in Christ
“Abiding in Christ is meant for the weak, and so beautifully suited for our feebleness. It is not the doing of some great thing, nor does Abiding demand that I first lead a holy and devoted life.”
I find these words quite fitting for a morning like this.
So I keep reading…
“it is simply weakness entrusting herself to the mighty one to be kept- the Unfaithful One casting herself on The Faithful and True Vine.”
At this, I am reminded of a story about Peter and 6 of the disciples.
In the gospel of John, Christ has been crucified and resurrected. Jesus has revealed himself to his disciples at least two times now, but on the way to the sea of Galilee, Peter says to the other disciples:
It is difficult to understand why Peter decided to go fishing, and there are many hypothesis as to why he wanted to go. We do know, however, that the word fishing in the original Greek there is in a perfect continual tense which emphasizes the idea of it being a final act.
Peter says, I’m going fishing, fishing, fishing, and I’m done with everything else.
It’s as if Peter was saying— I’ve done the Jesus thing for 3 years and now I’m going back to doing what I do best.. fishing, fishing, fishing.
And so 7 of them go back to the Sea of Galilee and begin to fish, but something quite unusual happens for these professional fisherman-turned-disciples.
They don’t catch any fish. Not one. Not one fish even though they had been fishing all night. In a sea teeming with fish. Professional fisherman.
They don’t catch any at all until Jesus appears on the shoreline and tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat.
What irritation for these worn out fisherman to have a bystander on the shores calling out to them—
Go on, give it a go. Cast your nets again. Oh but this time on the right side!
Only this bystander happened to be the risen Lord Jesus.
And so, they, after casting their nets for the last time after a full night of work, catch 153 large fish.
I can just picture the disciple John, who wrote this story down and who was there that day, writing this story down those many years later recalling the exact number of fish they caught, and how incredibly unbelievable that would have been to them that day.
There’s much to be learned from this post-resurrection story, but one thing to me is clear.
Christian- directed service done in my way and in my time seems to always fail, but Christ-directed service always thrives.
Even in the common affairs of my life- my job, cooking supper at home, cleaning up, and doing laundry— I can’t seem to do all these things well without Jesus.
I can’t even stay awake during my quiet time hour!!
But these admissions remind me too that Jesus has made it his habit to pick up young, prejudice, biased, and immature people to learn his ways. He picked 12 core men, who after seeing that he conquered death —7 of them said.. “nah. I’ll go back to fishing.”
(they did end up getting back on board later, thankfully.)
Yes, Abiding in Christ is perfectly suited for my feebleness and weakness. I am weak, tired, discouraged, and dreadfully busy most all the time, and yet..
Jesus Christ called my name. And the invitation to COME TO HIM is immediately followed with the invitation to STAY WITH HIM. it was this close fellowship that brought the disciple John to say, upon seeing their miraculous catch of 153 fish, “It is the LORD!”
Spend a little time with Jesus, and you’ll begin to feel it to.
His command to come to him and his command to abide with him are simply promises taking on a new form.
They are not commands like the law of Moses, which if disobeyed would lead to ruin, destruction, and death.
On the contrary these commands do not demand me to perform nor force me to obey.
They are simple commands- like “throw your nets on the right side”
That when BELIEVED IN really do produce fruit. And fish.
Jesus Christ’s aim and purpose for your life is that you come to his kingdom, and that you live there with him, never to leave.
His desire is that we take up permanent residence in his camp- the camp where the unfaithful ones have been given the gifts that only the Faithful one deserves.
This is the secret gift of Abiding in Christ- that all he is and all he deserves is reserved and kept for a bunch of rebellious, hard-hearted sinners.
No strings attached.
No contracts to keep.
Believing in his name, and living in his camp.
That is the way to Abide.
Lord Jesus, if you bid me to come, and if you engage to lift and keep me there, then I will venture in. Trembling yet Trusting. I abide in you. You are Lord God of Israel, the King who never slumbers nor sleeps, it is you has perfect rest and communion with God the Father. This is your perfect work, and my only work is to believe.