For the past few days, the Lord has been teaching me about the concept of abiding. This is not a new thought for me, but most certainly a new lesson.
Saturday night, after being wounded by someone I love, I got in my car and drove over 300 miles to another state, Georgia. Why? I was fleeing — getting out of dodge —- taking my wounded soul to another land. I wasn’t running to something, nor was I in the true sense running from something — I was simply fleeing.
Fleeing a hurt heart … fleeing perceived judgment … fleeing confrontation … fleeing humiliation. However, in my flight, I was running into the unknown and danger — I was fleeing the safety of my husband (who is my covering) and running directly into the snare of the Evil One of this world. I had no plan, no provision, no destination, and no restraint … I just wanted escape.
During that long drive, my dear husband kept calling, my son kept calling, and I reached out to a stabilizing friend in Virginia. Deciding to lean on their wisdom, instead of my own, I eventually set my car back into a southerly course and instead of crying, I began praying.
Around three in the morning, I arrived home and began stilling my soul and seeking Him … a prodigal of sorts needing her Father. In the stilling, God began working on my heart in two ways:
Forgiveness — my first response to the one who hurt me should have been forgiveness — immediate and sincere forgiveness. In my delay, I allowed Satan to continue to magnifying the hurt; and in that magnification, my response was sinful and destructive. Satan thrives on derailing us, destroying us, and pulling us from HE who loves us…in any way he can. Peter reminds of this in his first epistle:
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
Therefore, my first and only response should have been immediate forgiveness, understanding the snare of Satan and his deceit.
Yet, God did not stop with forgiveness…He then started teaching me more about abiding.
Abiding — instead of fleeing the hurt, deception, and pain I should have immediately settled my soul to abide in Him. The Greek word for this abiding is hupomeno which means to stand fast or persevere. The prefix hupo (under, as in under the rule or sovereignty of someone) and meno (to remain) fit very well with the instruction I needed.
I needed to recognize that, in giving the Lord reign of my life, I need to trust His sovereignty over my life…even when I feel someone has hurt me unjustly. When I trust His sovereignty, I then need to willingly (deliberately) remain — be still — even when it is painful physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Psalm 91 assures me of the benefits of abiding, instead of fleeing:
Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
I love the words the psalmist uses that encapsulate abiding — dwell, refuge, fortress! Instead of heeding this promise of refuge, I ran straight into the snare of Satan — I left the refuge and fortress of His faithfulness, when He longed for me to abide — to stand fast — to persevere.
I am thankful for the encouragement and prayers of those who knew I was running — these prayers brought me quickly back under His wings — that sure and faithful refuge.
I pray that this has taught me the value of forgiving and abiding — that the next time Satan sets a snare for me, I will immediately and obediently forgive and abide. There will be a next time —so, I abide in His faithfulness that is a shield and a buckler.