Hello family, my name is Jonathan Duncan and I’m honored to be the newest devotional writer. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to serve the Lord this way.
When I was still a toddler learning to walk, I snuck out to the pool when my family was preoccupied. One near-drowning accident later, I had successfully plunged my family into the depths of grief as they endured three and a half months of wondering if their youngest son would survive. Understandably, my Dad was inconsolable for a time. Scriptural comfort and encouragement were beyond him to receive. He felt so many overwhelming things making life seem untenable.
Enter Dr. Dave Ferreira. He and my Dad had been playing in a church baseball league together for a while and he wanted to help. His psychology doctorate armed him with an understanding of the grieving process and how to navigate it efficiently. His knowledge of scripture equipped him to employ the Lord’s encouraging promises and speculate on the greater purposes of God. But instead, he chose to abide with my dad at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto. He let my Dad share his sorrows uninterrupted where others, although well intentioned, would not. My dad would later tell me that that time was the most impactful to him.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. – John 15:4
Abiding is like, intentionally setting your soul next to another’s.
Be still and know I am God – Psalms 46:10
I think what Dr. Ferreira did for my Dad is a wonderful example of what abiding with another person looks like. Abiding in Christ is different though because we are not serving a need of his, for he needs nothing. Rather it is the most beautiful invitation to place our souls next to his and experience deep communion with him. The Lord Jesus offers us his gentle and understanding companionship.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
Like Dr Ferreira abided with my Dad in his grief, we can abide with the Lord Jesus in his love. Be still, silent, listen, and observe as you bare more fruit for his glory. Set your soul next to the Lord’s.