The journey over the past year has been a bit of a roller coaster. There have been some pretty great highs and steep, deep lows with lots of twists and turns along the way. At Silver Dollar City, there is a ride called Fire In The Hole. It’s an older roller coaster type ride, nothing huge. But there’s this part you can hear the tape holler “fire in the hole!” as you drop into the dark. Your belly visits your throat, like it would on a curvy country road. But it’s black as night and you can’t see the rails, or the car, in front of you. Not only did I physically experience that ride over the past 12 months, in ways I feel like it was life. And I kept wanting to holler, “Fire in the hole!”
I’ve experienced a lot of change over the past few months, and I’m super excited about where some of the hard stuff and life is leading towards. But the path has been made clear, even when I don’t know what all the stairs up and down the trail look like. And for that I am grateful, because honestly I think it would be too scary if I could see the whole picture in one big swoop.
So a piece of that picture is this blog thing, whatever it ends up looking like, Glory Abides. The name came in stages. (As will the explanation.) And the abide part started in the fall with a study, and then with a challenge from my paster to a 21 day fast. The last time I fasted, it was my chai tea. This time, the what to fast came so quickly I barely had to think about it. The Spirit within clearly nudged me to abide in the LORD; make no decisions or commitments, don't look for a new job, spend time in His word and in prayer, spend time with those who are life giving. Abide in the Lord. Honestly, it felt a bit ambiguous. Not like last time where I chose to not enjoy by daily beverage, my “coffee”, for Lent. And I'm not gonna lie, there were a few days I felt utterly lost.
But this fall I feel in love with the word abide, and now that I’m aware it’s plastered all over scripture like a big fat blinking arrow. In the Greek, it is menó and means to remain, to be held, kept, to wait for, not to depart, to sojourn, and (one of my favorite bits) to tarry. And it’s also a verb, so in my mind it’s like the action of waiting.
So many times we don’t think something is changing, because in our eyes we can’t see it. However, I’m learning that there is so much that can take place in the abiding, the "active" waiting. Recently, I did Kelly Minter’s study What Love Is on 1,2,3 John. (It’s great by the way!) And she talked about how fast the cucumbers in her garden were growing. I thought about it more like my zucchini; in the morning they are these cute little things not quite ready to be picked but by the next day they were miraculously TOO big for the sauté pan! They didn’t look like they were growing, but they abided in the vine and produced much fruit. (Check out John 15!)
So much can happen when we abide in God. We are held by Him. We can continue with Him, with His strength. We can tarry in His presence. At the end of the 21 days, I realized that this wasn’t just supposed to be a fast, but a new way of life. I love and see beauty by intentionally abiding in the Lord each day.
We are called to abide in Him, and He will abide in us. In John 6:56, Jesus tells us “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (ESV) That may sound a little grotesque, but it’s Jesus basically saying that if we accept Him as Messiah, he will remain in us and we will remain in him. We will reside and stay with each other. He will not leave or forsake you. And I love in Ephesians 2:22 when Paul tells us that, “In him you also are being built together into dwelling places for God by the Spirit.” (ESV) Through the Holy Spirit, we become a place for God to reside in us, dwell and remain.
Since November, I've watched this little orchid bud grow ever so slowly. At one point I thought it would never actually bloom, and perhaps even shrivel up to a nub. And then, it was like over night this lovely yellow blossom appeared, in the waiting. The waiting has been well worth the reward, and it will last for months!
Honestly, over the past few months when I was secretly hollering "Fire In the Hole!", shedding tears or wrestling with anger and fear, it was the abiding and trusting the Lord that helped keep my head above the waves. Along with a loving husband and some really great praying sisters-in-Christ!
The Lord abides in us, and we can abide in him. So there’s the first little part of where the name Glory Abides comes from. Menó. I love that word. And, oh for His GLORY!