As I’ve been thinking about abide over the last few weeks, my mind keeps coming back to the word abode, as in dwelling or home. For most of us, our homes are where we feel most comfortable, most like ourselves, most at ease. It’s where we know we belong.
I’ve lived in six different homes in my life, four within the last decade, and I know I will live in many more homes in the future. There are certain elements I look for in a home: large windows, lots of light, muted tones with pops of color, a cozy minimalist aesthetic. But more than anything, I know I am home when I am with my boys: the location and building may change, but wherever Charleston and Luke are, that is home. It’s where I’m most comfortable, most like myself, most at ease. It’s where I belong.
When Jesus asks us to abide in Him, He is asking us to make Him our home. This involves a level of intimacy usually reserved for families. It’s no surprise, then, that God frequently uses the metaphor of family—and especially marriage—in describing His relationship with the body of believers.
The book of Hosea tells the intriguing and beautiful story of Hosea’s unadulterated love for his unfaithful wife, Gomer. The story is offered as an example of the Lord’s pursuit of the people of Israel: they have turned their backs on God, yet He seeks reunion and reconciliation. Where they have abandoned God, He has remained faithful and longs to woo them back to Him through His loyalty, patience, and relentless devotion.
In my ten years of marriage to Luke, I have experienced a glimpse of this compassionate, steadfast love. Luke has stood by my side through enormous trials and continued to demonstrate his sacrificial love when I have been entirely unlovable. As our relationship has deepened and matured, I’ve grown increasingly comfortable in his presence. With Luke, there is no pretending or hiding or putting on of masks. I am able to be fully myself, whatever that day’s version of myself may be. Whether it’s venting about my latest frustration, or talking a mile a minute about something that has me excited, or simply existing in companionable silence, Luke invites me to come as I am.
I believe this is what the Lord means when He says, “I will betroth you to me forever.” He is offering us a permanent place in His home, where we can come as we are and find rest in His comfortable abode. We will inevitably fall short of the grace He has extended, yet His heart remains with us, and ours with Him. We are united for eternity. We are home.