“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4)
It was never designed as an entry in the “have to” category, but we shoved it into that column, making it a chore rather than the grand adventure it was intended to be from the beginning. Spending time alone with the Father, carving out a sliver of the day to hear his voice and respond to his Word, should always be firmly fixed in the “I-can’t-believe-I get-to-do-this” frame of reference. Delight will trump duty every time.
Jesus set the pace for us, hunkering down on mountainside retreats, slipping away from demanding crowds, making time with the Father his highest priority. Somehow we imagine our hectic schedules should dictate the day. How foolish to suppose we are engaged in more pressing needs and dealing with weightier concerns than Christ had to balance as he made his way on earth. With his resolute choice to set aside the uproar for solitary space with God, Jesus models life in its perfect form.
An absence of time alone with God leaves me like a barren tree, plucked and bare, branches devoid of fruit. When hectic pressures rule and my day clobbers me with concerns that overrule, I am uselessly disconnected from my most vital resource. I become as invalid as a pen without ink, a house with no roof, a pool emptied of all life-giving water.
We make it complicated. He wants a conversation. We turn it into scoring high marks and brownie points. He longs for intimate relationship. We accumulate a hundred excuses why we can’t, and all the while he waits to give us more of himself, to grant us freedom with his truth, to shower us with the cleansing water of his Word.
We hesitate and procrastinate. He simply waits to give us everything we could possibly ever need.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell