Posted by Kim Aldrich:
abide: to remain stable or fixed in some state or
condition; to continue; to remain.
abet: to contribute, as an assistant or instigator,
to the commission of an offense.
It had been the sweetest season of my life to date. Seeds had been planted, roots had gone deep, and new growth had not only started, but remained. Each day my relationship with God was becoming more and more the air I breathed and the food I ate. For once in my life, I was truly abiding.
As if that wasn’t enough, over time the most marvelous “fruit” began to appear. Deepening and expanding friendships. Overflowing creativity and passion. An unmistakable sense of purpose. Childlike joy over the biggest or smallest blessing from my Father’s hand. Even the ability to laugh at things that had tripped me up or stunted my growth in the past. His Life was flowing through me so continuously that I was no longer being held back by my own frailties. In my weakness, He was strong!
Then came the test. The undoing. The painful reminder that the deepest truths of the kingdom may be simple…but at times they’re anything but easy. Especially with an enemy on the prowl who knows our blind spots.
At first it was the small things that distracted my attention. A slight self-consciousness over a past area of hurt. Just a bit of scar tissue, nothing to worry about. Maybe a little extra preparation here or a bit of self-protection there will keep my heart safe. Then a task or two that needed doing, but came at a slightly quicker pace than I felt I could handle and still stay grounded. Not a problem, it won’t last long. I’ll just hurry a little faster and get it done, I told myself.
Then circumstances from without and within—you know the kind—the ones that disorient and unnerve you just enough to put you off balance without actually alerting you to any real danger. An inconvenience. A disappointment. A slight humiliation. A physical hardship or unmet expectation, or both. One after the other, after the other, after the other…until I no longer knew which way to turn or which end was up. Until (and this is the important part) I even lost the presence of mind to call for help. For I could have. Even at this point, I could have. But I didn’t.
True, I sent up a few half-hearted pleas, but nothing even remotely approaching the simple, gut-level communication I’d known before. Just a fruitless “wail of travail.” No repentance. No connection. No true transaction with God. No stopping everything and deciding I must have God or nothing else. For that would involve actually stopping…the one thing I felt I couldn’t afford to do. Like Martha, I had become “troubled by many things” yet satisfied by none.
And all the while, my enemy circled and prowled with a satisfied smile. He examined both his handiwork and mine and said, “It is good.” I hit my knees. I shook my head. How was this possible??? Never in my wildest dreams had I ever imagined myself “aiding and abetting” such evil. Never in a trillion years would I have knowingly cooperated with his plans. But the evidence was irrefutable: Discontent. Shredded feelings. Confusion. Faithlessness. Despair. All my beautiful fruit had been replaced by the hideous fruit of darkness. And I hadn’t even seen it coming. Or had I?
Gradually I began to recognize certain warning signs I’d previously overlooked. In hindsight’s glaring x-ray vision, my own fear, independence, and self-obsession were impossible to miss. And I repented. And repented. And when I was done, I worshipped.
I’d like to say the road to reconnection has been easy, but honestly it hasn’t. There have been false starts and setbacks, and more than a few tears. Some days my “branches” still ache. Trips to the woodshed are like that. Though correction and restoration are instantaneous, the bruises left by “aiding and abetting” can take a while to heal. But oh the joy of knowing the enemy’s plan is foiled! And oh the delight of rejoining God’s plan through simple steps of obedience!
Though life gets complicated, the “abiding” truth we can count on is still refreshingly clear: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15: 5).