“Abide in Me.”
I hear the call of Your voice in my heart. ‘Take me there, Lord. Show me what it means to abide. Show me what it means to be where You are.’
“Walk with Me,” I hear Your voice from up ahead.
…A foggy morning. A clearing, small and intimate it seems. Seated at a small fire at the edge of the wood, You are there. Smiling in the gloom of the pre-dawn hush, the flickering of the fire draws stark relief on Your face, etching it in sharp lines. A quiver runs through me. Anticipation. Fear.
“What are we doing here, Lord?” The question hangs in the air, shattering the silence in sharp tones, shrill it feels. You look at me over the orange-red of the fire, piercing me with the love in Your eyes, the strength of Your passion, the purity of Your fire. And then, a smile as the words seem to tumble from somewhere deep inside You, all around me. Your voice as clear as trumpets, soft as the dawn. “Walk with Me.”
Your robe whispers as You stand. Your hand reaches for mine, pulling me to my feet. Walking into the wood, I longingly look back at the warmth of the fire fading in the fog. With a start, I realize You are nowhere in sight and I don’t know where I’m going. Panic jumps into my throat, thickening it. From the fog ahead, Your voice on the path. “Stay close to Me. Stay with Me, don’t wander.” Rushing ahead, I find You mere feet ahead, waiting. A soft chuckle rolls from Your smile. “You don’t have to run. I won’t leave You. But, stay close.”
The climb feels long, taxing. I find myself gasping for air in the thick morning, the low air. Scrambling, it feels, to keep up. No sound, save our footfalls and my breathing. The trees seem to press in close at times, grasping it seems, and I want to cry out to You not to move fast, to wait, to speak to me, say something. Your silence is deafening. I can hear the birds as we climb, singing, warbling their song in the trees. All around me I feel, sense the moving vibrance of the wood, creation.
Stumbling, I look up in frustration. “What are we doing here, Lord?” I cringe as I hear my voice echo but I can’t stop now. “Why won’t you tell me…”my voice dies in my throat as I realize; we have broken free of the fog and the wood.
Standing on a steep mountain path, the world opens up around me. The wind is sharp, cold. The air is crystal clear. The silence is so deep it feels as though it might crack. Looking down, I see what I thought was the choking, close wood. What I see takes my breath. Tears begin to slide down my cheeks, dripping from my chin as I am overcome by the majesty and aching beauty around me. A lake sits below me, wrapped in trees. Glistening in the sun, the water is absolutely clear; like glass, I can see through it to the rocky bottom of the lake.
Then, I feel Your hand on my shoulder. Its warmth presses into me. I can feel You near, hear You breathing with the exertion of the climb. I turn to look at Your face, glowing with Your smile. Weeping and laughing simultaneously at the beauty around me, at Your touch, I am swept into a silence of awe. And then, I see the smile creeping at the corners of Your mouth, growing into a huge, luminous smile. Throwing Your head back, You laugh in utter abandon until tears begin to roll down Your cheeks. Wrapping me in Your arms, You speak.
“See? Just walk with Me.”