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One of us was sitting on the floor; one was sitting on the bed. Memories can get a little cloudy after 25 years, but the awkwardness is still quite palpable in my mind.

“I don’t just want to be your messaging service,” she murmured. Her eyes were sincere, her tone vulnerable. “I don’t want our only conversations to be about who has called or whether I’m going to class. I don’t just want to be your roommate because we live in the same space. I want us to spend time together. I want to know you. I want us to have a friendship.”

She was almost alien to me in that moment. My experience with other girls to that point had often been varying levels of competition and jealousy. There had been a few “safe” friends but only one or two close relationships. And most of the females who pursued me had had an agenda – they wanted an “in” with my parents, they wanted me to hook them up with my guy friend – that kind of thing. So what was I to do with this guileless creature sitting open before me offering genuine friendship?

“I’ll try,” I responded. And thus began the precious gift of a kindred sisterhood that is still cherished to me a quarter of a century later, even as we serve Jesus on opposite sides of the world.

Jesus does not want to be merely the roommate of your soul. He does not simply want to reside with you. He calls us… He is calling you to ABIDE!

We are coming out of a season of celebrating Emmanuel, but this year the Spirit of God has had me sitting still in that name. “God WITH us.” Have you ever considered that the PRIMARY call of YHWH (the name God gave Himself in scripture) is a call to abide?

But what does that mean? Even after spending my entire life in the church, the concept of abiding can feel vague and mystical. It seems to change with seasons and circumstances. It could be easy to dismiss it as a mere mystery of God we cannot attain…and yet, we are called.

Miriam-Webster’s people define it this way: “To remain stable or fixed in a state of love…” But other denotations and even the Greek take us deeper. Words like “continue”, “remain”, “submit to”, “wait for”, and “stay faithful to” all dance around this notion of abide. The feeling we get is that its concept or meaning is as alive as relationship… as though, perhaps, the Creator Himself embodies the reality of abide. I would argue that truth is evident throughout the WHOLE of scripture.

We see this first in the garden. Genesis 3:8 gives us a powerful and painful picture of the intimacy between YHWH and the first humans He created. “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God [literally YHWH Creator] as he was walking in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

“…heard the sound of the Lord…” They knew His sound! Sit in that for a minute! Can you feel the power of the connection between YHWH Creator and His people? Is your heart thumping faster? Have you ever known someone so deeply you could discern their approach by the sound of their footsteps? This was not a once-in-awhile encounter! Adam, Eve, and YHWH connected often enough that they recognized the sound of his footsteps! But the phrase that follows is agonizing.

“…and…they…hid…” This is like that moment in a movie when you realize the foreshadowing was true… they are breaking up… the main character isn’t going to survive… Can you feel the shattering hope? To be so intimate that you recognize each other’s footsteps – to have experienced unfettered connection of the soul – and to have that broken to the point of hiding. The grief of the Spirit feels unbearable as I read those words.

The picture of a beautiful, brilliant Creator God forming humanity IN HIS IMAGE, FROM DUST, and breathing HIS LIFE into them…only to have that connection severed through sin and to find them hiding among the trees He had formed to remind them of Himself… is devastating.

And thus begins the time-long journey and tale of Creator YHWH seeking to redeem His humanity and abide with us. This is just the first chapter. We’ll explore more in the coming days, but I say to you again… I believe scripture shows us the PRIMARY call of YHWH is a call to abide? Could this be your first step to living a life of calling?

What would it look like if we began a new year committed to living a life of abiding, not just residing with Jesus?

  1. Has Jesus become just a roommate in your soul?
  2. How does the story of God and His people in the garden relate to your current relationship with Jesus?
  3. What would it look like for you to abide today?

You were created to live a life of Calling!