“Mena”, said Trinity, “Can you get me a ring?”
“Certainly,” I replied, unable to resist the request of my four year old granddaughter, “I’ll get you one this weekend.”
“Well,” she smiled, “What about that one? “ pointing to the small vine and leaf ring on my right ring finger.
In a flash of memory, I thought of when I bought this ring and what it meant to me at the time. About thirteen years ago, our family was on an outing to the local lake. My daughter and I was looking around in one of the shops along the beach. The delicate little ring caught my eye. Designed with a simple vine of silver and a tiny cluster of grapes in the center. It reminded me of the passage of scripture I was currently memorizing.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15:4-6 (NIV)
As Christians it is our hearts desire to glorify God by bearing fruit. This scripture reminds us that we can only do so by remaining connected to the Vine. Our relationship with Christ must be one that allows the Spirit to flow through our veins constantly. Today’s women have so much on their plate that it is easy to skip a devotional time. Jesus’ words here have stayed with me throughout the years, driving me to my prayer closet even when things get hectic and time is short.
There will come days in our lives that are difficult along with trials that seem bent on annihilating our spirits. It is this abiding in Jesus that will see us through. Though we cannot see where the answers or the strength comes from, we can feel the peace that passes all understanding wash over us in the trials of life. Often it is through these challenging situations that we bear the most fruit. Those who are lost will scrutinize our reaction to problems we face. If we reflect peace and confidence in God, a seed will be planted in that persons heart, possibly drawing them closer to His saving grace.
I have worn the ring almost everyday since then. Now, as I looked into the sweet, smiling face of my granddaughter, I decided that I could part with the ring. After all, I’m a mature Christian, I know the Scripture, and this is just a ring. So, I took the ring off and put it in that tiny outstretched hand. She promised to take good care of it.
In the coming days I found myself missing that ring like you would miss an arm.
Constantly, I would rub my finger where the ring used to be. When I talked to others, I would try to hide my hand as if it were naked . (I’m a hand talker.) Then, of course, I would chide myself for being so foolish as to be so attached to an inanimate object. After all, it wasn’t a family heirloom, it wasn’t of any monetary value, it was just a ring. However, there it was, a feeling of utter emptiness.
One morning as I opened my Bible during my devotion, it fell open, once again, to that passage in John. As I read it, and touched that ringless finger, I sensed His still small voice speaking to my heart.
“What if you were taken from the vine, just as the ring was taken from your finger? Would you miss Me as you miss the ring?”
At that moment I knew just what ’remaining in the Vine’ really meant and how alone I would be without this precious relationship with Jesus. I have a wonderful family, live a blessed life, but nothing is as essential as staying connected to Him.
That evening after work, I stopped by my daughter’s house again. She returned the ring assuring me that Trinity was finished with it. Smiling, I slipped the ring back onto my finger, then reaffirmed in my heart a commitment to abide in Him.
Absolutely delightful! The final sentence could use just a tad more punch to crown it. Maybe condense the idea into fewer words? Thanks so much for bringing home His preciousness in such a heartwarming way!