Living Together with Christ

more and more at home
he is
entering with glad assurance
no longer knocking and
wondering if I will see him as
interruption
intrusion
guest 
who puts me on my toes
my best behavior 
politeness
with an edge of tension
whisking litter out of sight
swabbing the sink
shutting a bedroom door
mess
out of sight
out of mind

I used to make sure
I paid attention
at the right times
served tea
observed the niceties
we were friends
but hardly intimate
coworkers
but with schedules
daytimers and appointments
lots of lists

he was in
but not all the way

then came pain
and long confusion
followed by bleeding
distress
hurt
and
(open as never before)
I threw myself at him
no more appointments
just whenever
need grabbed my heart
and tears could not be dammed
I needed him
and every time I looked
he was still there
in my home
waiting in the chair
or walking by me
in the hall
or by my bed at night

and I forgot to shut the doors
(he knew anyway)
and I messed up on the tea
so he served me
and starting out the day
we reserved 
time for us
because it's precious
not because we "should"
shut the outer door
sit close and talk
listen
and be held

we are at home
it happened
when I opened up
in desperation
yes
and mislaid protocol

and now
the thought of being home
with him
turns on the lamps
and stokes the fire
my heart burns warm
and I run fearlessly
to sit by him
assured of his glad welcome
delight
leaping into his eyes
to have me seek him out
for conversation
or just some quiet
together
where deep unspoken yearnings
move before his eyes
and he
(who knows them all already)
sees
and prays for me
and pours new strength
into my inner being

pain
you were my friend
causing me to throw
caution to the wind
and live where it matters
with my Lifegiver
Lifemate
Lover
trusting him
and so he is at home

When you live with someone, sharing a home, you get to know them in a whole new way. You bump into each other in the laundry room, or the hallway, on the porch or in the yard. You can hear each other’s choice of music or movies. You know their tolerance of noise, their work ethic, and how they spend their days off. Do they clean up their messes? Are they helpful?

When we returned to the U.S. for a home assignment in 1995 and needed a place to live, our pastor and his wife offered us their mother-in-law basement apartment. That turned out to be a wonderful way for our families, adults and kids, to get to know each other. Their daughter, Meghan, and our daughter Ariane even called themselves “fake sisters” from that time forward! A similar offer gave us a home for a year when we were evacuated from civil war and had no place of our own yet.

Likewise, in Côte d’Ivoire, there were two occasions when a pastor needed temporary housing for himself and his family. Recently graduated from pastoral training and assigned to a certain village, he did not yet have the pieces in place for a home. Those two families became “family” to us, living with us for over a year, sharing in cooking, childcare, and praying together. We grew much closer than we ever could have without living together.

Often when we think of “living together with Christ” our minds leap to the future, to our heavenly home. But the truth is that in the following verses, “life with him” is actually referring to walking with him daily here on earth as well, sharing “home” and building closeness. Let’s contemplate the ramifications:

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. (1 Thess. 5:10 NIV)

“Whether awake or asleep” – in other words, in this life or after death – we are able to actually live with him because of the price he paid. Day in and day out he is right there, right here with us.

Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,12 continue to live your lives13 in him, (Col. 2:6 NET)

13 tn The present imperative περιπατεῖτε (peripateite) implies, in this context, a continuation of something already begun.  . . . The verb is used literally to refer to a person “walking” and is thus used metaphorically (i.e., ethically) to refer to the way a person lives his or her life.

This translation note underlines the effect that living together will have on us. It changes us, and this is shown in our behavior.

Living with those two Nyarafolo families in our home with us, two different years, changed our understanding of their passion for ministry, of extended family dynamics, and of what mattered most to them. We learned that playing with their children, dancing with a toddler, holding a crying baby, sharing meals and praying together built intimacy, just as much as conversation did. They reciprocated by helping with cooking and drawing water from the well, explaining cultural challenges, encouraging us. We became increasingly like a big extended family with multiple shared experiences and passions. It was reciprocity (a high cultural value there) lived out in concrete ways.

The spiritual discipline of “practicing the Presence” can seem abstract to us. What we need to realize is that our Lord is with us whether we are aware of it or not. He is everywhere in the world, but when it comes to his own treasured ones the reality is intensely personal. he actually makes his home in us and wants us to make our home in him!

Remain9 in me, and I will remain in you (Jn. 15:4 NET)           9 tn Or “Reside.”

Reside in him, and he will reside in us. Could it be any more intimate than that? Life together with the Lord is actually sharing our most intimate inner spaces all the time. When we build awareness of that, practicing tuning in to his Presence, it changes us, just like the example of sharing a home with other humans does.

 –We are safe, never left alone or unprotected.

 –When someone is that close, we do our best not to offend them; we maintain peace.

 We care about what matters to them.

–We can hear our housemate laugh, or shout a warning (“there’s a snake in the kitchen!”).

–We hear a child cry and we both rush to see what’s up. Our hearts are united.

 –When there is challenging work to do, we can do it together.

A friend recently told me that her counselor has a timely question that she poses when she has just shared about some difficult moment: “Where was God right then?” What a great way to be reminded of his constant nearness!

When we are about to make a phone call and are not really sure how the conversation will go, we can whisper to our Best Friend and Counselor, “Please help me know what to say.”

When we start peeling Granny Smith apples to make a special pie for loved ones, we can thank him for providing such an extraordinary flavor and this opportunity to share it.

When we hear gunshots in the neighborhood, we can reach for his hand and know that he can handle this.

When we find out we need surgery, we can remember that he is there inside us, beside us, all around us, even when we go under anesthesia.

Living together with Jesus is one of the most astounding privileges we have! We live with the King of Everything! King, yes, and our Friend. We walk life’s path with the best Guide ever! We share our most intimate space with the One we can trust, the One we can rely on to show us how to deal with messes and how to make life ever more beautiful. This is not a hardship but a totally undeserved gift. There is no better Lifemate.

He says, “I am with you, always.”  I say, “I am his, and he is mine!”

Published by Linnea Boese

After spending most of my life in Africa, as the child of missionaries then in missions with my husband, I am now retired and free to use my time to write! I am working on publishing poetry and on writing an autobiography. There have been many adventures, challenges and wonderful blessings along the way -- lots to share!

2 thoughts on “Living Together with Christ

  1. Linnea, your words always lift my spirits! Thanks for sharing your gift of allowing the Lord to speak through you@

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: