I decided to take a break from the Old Testament and found myself in the Gospels reading John 15, the vine and the branches passage. As I read, I felt a familiar tugging at the edge of my heart when I came to verse 15:5, “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.” Memorizing this verse as a child, I always wondered why the verse starts out talking about the man and “he”, but then moves to addressing the very personal “you”. You can do nothing apart from me–it’s a direct challenge to the heart of not only the man, but me (and you) personally.
I continued reading thinking about how I need to stop worrying so much because I am in the Vine, who will bear fruit through me for His glory. According to this verse, it’s a by-product of a life that’s given to Him; we can’t help but bear fruit because that is the nature of things. A healthy cherry tree blossoms and produces cherries.
I came to a section I’ve always found frustrating: “…ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.” As a kid, I thought that God was some sort of cosmic Santa Claus. In faith, I asked Him for a Glo-Worm Doll. I knew that my God would not deny me. I searched all through my house for that silly doll absolutely certain it was tucked away in some nook or cranny. I never found the Glo-Worm Doll. To this day, I think I’m still searching for that wonderful ministry, church, job, boyfriend, experience, and so on (“adult Glo-Worm Dolls”.)
I actually wanted the “girl” Glo-Worm, but I would’ve settle for this guy, too. Man, they’re stupid-looking.
I didn’t need a Glo-Worm Doll. In fact, it was a worm in pajamas that glowed when it was hugged. What a weird toy! In retrospect, I don’t even know why I wanted one. I had plenty of other toys, childhood adventures, and friends to occupy my time. The Glo-Worm Doll was a lesson in faith for me though; a lesson that even as a child that God would give me what I need, not necessarily what I want. Part of remaining connected to the Vine is not only getting the spiritual nourishment I so desperately need, it’s also recognizing that what I want may not be what God has for me right now, despite how much faith I muster when I beg Him for my grown up Glo-Worm Dolls.
Sometimes I feel unloved because I don’t get the Glo-Worm Doll. Everyone else seems to have them, except for me. Ah, a woman wallowing in self-pity is a pitiful sight indeed. Then I read this: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love.” Did you get that? Remain in My love. I have to make the conscious effort to remain in God’s love. Or rather to remain in the knowledge of His love. It’s always there for me, waiting for me, imploring me to come close and receive it…but I am the one who chooses not to remain in His love.
Feeling unloved and being truly unloved are too completely different things. While life on planet earth is turbulent and trying, I must remember that I will never, never, never be without God’s love, and that He promises to love me with an “everlasting love” (Jer. 3:3). It’s my choice to remain in it or to reject it entirely. Four words–so beautiful, so profound–“Remain in My Love”