Joy in Abiding

It is true that I once thought Grace was a blue-eyed, blonde and joy was found riding next to her in a convertible. Older now and perhaps a tad wiser, I realize that while that may have been Happiness (with a capital H) it wasn’t joy. Happiness depends on happenings and is mostly fleeting. When good things stop happening, happiness stops happening. Joy is so much more.

For those who know Him, joy comes from the Lord. And the biggest dose seems to be for those who abide in Him.

An odd word: abide.  Archaic even. Seems to beg for an –eth on its tail end.  “He that abideth in me…” and all.

Maybe. But it hits it on the head like no other word. Abide. Where? In Jesus. That is the thing. He is the source.

For years, I focused on seeking, as in “Seek ye first, the kingdom of God” (having spent far too much of my life seeking every other thing). Now, however, seeking just isn’t enough. I need to be closer. I need to be constant. I need to, well, abide.

Which isn’t to say I’m good at it. I’m not. I’m the poster boy for Abiding Deficit Disorder. Flitting from this to that. From yesterday to tomorrow. From worry to want to fear. But every once in a while, I pull it off. I push the reset button and abide, if only for a moment or two. And when I do, I find a taste of what I think must be…joy. And that to me is no small thing.

Tom Rowley, Executive Director of A Rocha USA,  lives in Bend, Oregon with his wife Maria and two children Jake & Mikey. You can learn more about Tom’s work at


  1. Amy Holsclaw says

    I love this! No matter where in the world we live, abiding is the simplest cure to our restless heart and the hardest work we’ve ever done for the shortest amount of deepest pleasure. If we truly want to live we must learn to abide so that our souls are fed. Not just once, but over and over. This process often brings surprises; for while we learn we are often overwhelmed with Presence.

    • Tom Rowley says

      Thank you, Amy. I love what you say: “the hardest work we’ve ever done for the shortest amount of deepest pleasure.” Amen!