Today, in one of my English classes, we had a short discussion about the past tense of "abide." Only English majors would sit around in a circle and say things like: "well, you say 'I will abide by your decision' and then you would say 'she abided by his decision.'" We talked about this for a good deal longer than we needed to establish that indeed, the past-tense of "abide" is "abided."
I am infinitely relieved by this.
Okay, so this may seem like a pointless story, and would be, trivial even, except that it got me thinking about the word abide.
You see, abide is one of my words. Here at Taylor, I've had to re-learn something that I knew better at home: how to abide in God.
Last Friday, we had a really fantastic chapel speaker who talked about a "Godwithus" God. The kind of God who is present with us in the mundane, the stuff of our lives, not waiting to show up until we are missionaries or VBS volunteers (although, if your mundane life happens to consist of those things, then He is in them with you).
I've been thinking about this concept in the context of my desire to abide in God, and have Him abide with me. I want to live in Him and have Him live in me.
Now how might this be connected to my mundane English conversation today?
I was thinking about the examples that we used for the tenses of abide. We often say those things don't we? "I'm willing to abide by your decision," "I have abided by your rules." When you say that to someone, etymologically, you are telling them that you are willing to live with their choice, you have lived with their rules. The word abide is about more than tolerance, it's about surrender. When you say that you will abide by the wishes of someone, you are flinging wide the door of your will and allowing them to enter. You welcome the co-existence of someone else's will in your life. You live with what they say and do and suggest.
This fascinates me.
I chose the right major.
Now, similar to the word "impact" which I can't hear without imagining a wall of bricks crashing into me, the word "abide" has been changed for me forever. It's about living with something.
There is another way that you can use this word. For example: "now that is something I can't abide." What you're saying there is that you can't live with it. You can't open the door of your will to it and trust it. There are those things.
My challenge today has been to consider how to abide with God more fully, to fling wide my life and let Him live there with me. It's always a challenge to let someone else in, but, in spite of the risk. I'm finding it to be worth it.