Learning to truly and fully abide in Christ has been a challenge. I often feel like it’s three steps forward and two steps back. Being the impatient person that I am, I wish my progress would be quicker. Being the semi-realistic person that I am, I know that my progress, or lack thereof, is on me. Will I follow through and put into practice what God is leading me to do? Will I let go of things, even good things, that distract me from truly abiding in Christ? Honestly, it’s really my kuleana (responsibility).
Yes, it’s been a challenge. But in a greater way, it’s been so awesome! There is a fire and a deep yearning in my heart to walk this path, to continue to journey to truly abide in Christ. I know there is so much more God wants me to experience than what I am right now. There’s so much more that God wants me to accomplish during my short time here on earth. Yet I know I cannot experience or accomplish anything on my own. It will come as I truly abide in Christ.
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Today is a very special day. As I reflect upon this special day, it is clear that this adventure of learning to abide in Christ started way back in 1982. I know, I know, why has it taken so long? Knowing me, it’s really no big surprise. It takes me a while. But thankfully, I’m pressing on!
It all started in a one bedroom apartment across the Kuakini hospital. One night, while I was watching television, something caught my eye. Or probably more accurately, God pulled my eyes away. There on a a makeshift desk, made with hollow tiles and a piece of plywood, was my wife, Jo. We had just gotten married and were settled into our first (of many) home. With her Bible on that desk, her head bowed, she seemed oblivious to anything going on around her. Engaged in her beloved Psalms, there she was, abiding in Christ. Yup, me watching something that was probably forgotten days later and Jo, in the presence of Almighty God, intimately enjoying His company.
I was intrigued by that and later that night I asked her about what I saw. She explained how special the Psalms were to her. How reading the Psalms led her into worship and the closeness she felt with God. Again, me being me, shared how I never could get into the Psalms, not like how she did, anyway. But I never forgot that night…and all the other nights I saw her on that desk. That’s where my journey to truly abide in Christ began. It began with a glance at someone special who was further along the journey than I was. Or probably more accurately, someone who was on a exciting journey that I wasn’t. And it lit a spark in my heart to join her on that journey.
Why is today a special day? It’s special because it’s my wife’s birthday! I thank God for her and the life-changing impact she has made in my life. I am where I am, I’m headed where I’m headed, in large part because of her. Thanks, Jo! And Happy Birthday. And thanks, God! So thankful for bringing her into my life!
And by the way, I love the Psalms now! Thanks Jo!
the journey continues…