My friend Misti invited me to go to Bible study with her tonight. “What should I bring?”, I asked her. “Yourself, your Bible, and Crayola markers” was her reply. Strange list, huh? I mean, who even needs markers at a Bible study? She then explained to me that in the Bible study, you talk about scripture then you color. You color a picture that the girl leading tells you to- not direct instructions, she just sets the framework. ‘I guess it’s always good to try something new’, I thought, inside being mildly sad that I was going to be working to stay inside the lines instead of watching Grey’s Anatomy.
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. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
But something looks different- I can’t tell what it is, but it looks like a different tree. And then, a word jumps out of the branches. I reach into my bin of markers (yes, I brought too many markers, freshman mistake) and pull out a red marker- actually, it’s raspberry. And it is the most beautiful shade of red I have ever seen. I start to color the letters I see in the branches. This is the finished product:
There it is- right in the midst of a very pruned tree of a girl- LOVE. And as I see it, I gasp. Six months ago, my tree was huge, full of fruit and colors and blessings. Then, God pruned me down- no leaves, no fruit, just limbs. But His purpose was for this season- He pruned my life back so that I could see the center of my being- His LOVE for me.
Yes, I am framing this picture in my room.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great LOVE we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
Hallelujah. God is near.