“Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” - John 15:4
Merriam Webster defines “abide” as meaning “to bear patiently, to endure without yielding, to wait for” and “to continue in a place.”
So, when Jesus says to his closest friends they are to abide in him as he does in them, we might immediately rush to a definition that means something like “live in,” yet look at the word’s true meaning.
The disciples were, as I’ve often reflected, kind of clueless. They often don’t understand Jesus, they ask him to repeat parables and tell them what they mean. They betray and abandon him even when they say they’ll stay with him unto death, they leave him alone to die, and they initially don’t believe Mary Magdalene when she tells them he’s done exactly what he said he’d do and rise again on the third day. Jesus was, in a great measure, patient with his disciples.
So to abide with Jesus has a lot to do with Jesus being patient with us, and we with him. He challenges us, he pushes us, he dares us to tear down walls that have been up for far too long and become something different, something more, something better and larger than ourselves. That isn’t an easy task, and if we’re going to try and do it we had better be patient in our efforts because we’re going to get it wrong a lot of the time. But Jesus is patient with us, so we can be patient with him, with ourselves, and with each other.
The vine is patient with the branch. It doesn’t bear fruit until the proper time. The vine can’t rush it. We can’t bear fruit either unless we’re patient and allow it to manifest itself at the proper time. We would do well to remember that when we wish things would change or happen faster than they do.
Sometimes, we just need to be patient, to trust and abide.
Patient God, abide with us so we might abide with You and with one another.