Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Waiting or Abiding?

It's amazing what you can learn when you pick up a dictionary.  Well, okay,  it's been a long time since I've held the pages of that book in my hands...dictionary.com is my go to source anymore.  Like the encyclopedia, an actual dictionary is going the way of the dinosaur.  But I digress...

I was considering what to call this blog entry about where I've been the past month.  I typed in "abiding".  Then I thought..."that's not really a user friendly word.  Kind of 'old-fashioned' like a word you'd find in an old hymn.  Just a word that people won't relate to so much any more."  So I backspaced over it and typed..."waiting".   I really thought the words were synonyms...that they could be used interchangeably.

Then the wordsmith in me said 'look them up'.  So I did.  I think my wordsmithyness - okay that's not really a word, but, that thing in me that strives to use words that most closely and concisely convey my thoughts - that thing...was influenced by God.  Because this is what I found and it really does speak to the point I set out to make today:

"Waiting" used as an a noun means a period of waiting, pause, interval or delay.  As a verb, it means to remain inactive in a state of repose as until something expected happens.  A secondary meaning is to postpone or delay in expectation.  But "abiding" isn't ever used as a noun.  As an adjective, it means continuing without change; enduring; steadfast.   And as a verb?  To remain, continue, stay...to endure, sustain, or withstand without yielding or submitting.  Do you see the difference?

Waiting, even as an action, is passive.  Abiding requires an engagement of the senses...yes, it says remain and stay which don't indicate movement, but then it goes further.  It says 'endure'...which means to hold out against - it's an engagement of the will...'sustain' - support, hold, bear up, undergo, experience, suffer - an engagement of the body...'withstand' - hold out against, resist or oppose...engagement of the mind.  When you abide, it is no passive thing.  You may not be in forward motion, but every part of you is on alert.  You are in a fight - even if that fight is to not lose ground.  You are engaged body, mind, and spirit.

These past few weeks, my pen has been silent.  I have also stepped back from a number of ministry obligations.  But I am not in 'repose'.  Quite the opposite.  I am engaged in a battle.  It is a fight for things precious to me.  This 'down' time is not about putting my life on pause even though I'm clearing my calendar...it is about putting on the full armor of God at described in Eph. 6:10-18.

"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."

The passage above tells us to stand firm or stand our ground 3 times and it clearly shows the action involved in that...be strong, resist, be prepared, stay alert and be persistent in prayer. 

So while I'm going through this trial that I cannot delve into at this juncture, I am not laying back, waiting on God to move...I'm abiding in His presence, abiding in His love, and abiding in the truth of His promises.  I am actively enduring and withstanding.  Abiding is more than mere waiting...it is looking to God with hope and expectancy...abiding is not allowing the circumstances to wash over you...it is digging in your heels, eyes looking "to the hills from where my help comes". 

So I ask you...when you face troubles and trials...are you waiting anxiously for them to blow over as they put your life on pause?  Or are you abiding in God, putting on His armor, preparing for battle and standing firm?  Waiting or abiding...the difference is huge.


  1. Toni,

    It's been quite a while since your last post here and I've been waiting (no pun intended)patiently for what I knew would be on the way. You did not disappoint me (you never do). This was beautiful, yet I ache for you, knowing where it comes from. Keep in mind where you are abiding....firmly, but lovingly in God's grip. A grip from which NO ONE can seize you.

    Love you, PSF!

  2. Thank you Pam. Yes, I started half a dozen times over the past few weeks, but neither the time nor content was right. I have to be careful, because so often when I write thinking I've learned a particular lesson, I find that it is just a reminder for me to go back to when the next wave hits :) Thank you too for the reminder...I am in His grip...and my name, and that of the one I'm battling for, are written on the palm of His hand.

  3. Oh, I hear you on that! In one of my recent posts, I wrote something along the lines of, 'I hope I won't need to relearn this lesson anytime soon.' Within a day or two of that smart statement, don't you think I did? DUH!

    Funny that you referenced the Scripture verse about your name being written on the palm of His hand. I just put together a post mentioning that...wow. It'll be awhile before it goes up. Lots of tweaking necessary. :)

  4. Now what about the fact that we are supernaturally on the same page surprises you? You know we have been in sync for months :)

  5. Hi Toni,
    I was relieved to see that you had posted finally. I have also been waiting (prayerfully for you since your last comment on my blog) knowing that there is a reason your pen has been silent. I love the fact that you had to look up the words in the dictionary! I volunteered today at my daughter's book fair and you know what I walked around with all night? A personal sized dictionary/thesaurus! For , I am sure the same reason...my love for a well turned out, precise word, in proper time. AND (if this won't blow you AND Pam away) the verse I prayed today was Ephesians chapter 6! This post is rich and I also appreciate these words today. Thanks you. Continuing in prayer as you abide and STAND. In His Grace,

  6. Dawn- thanks for the comments and prayers. I love that you found a dictionary and the Eph 6 Godincidence is no surprise - God's so cool! Writing is my livelihood - and writing 'short' - in 30 and 60 second increments is essential, so word choice is of utmost importance :)
    Blessings! Toni