Wednesday Word 8.15.2018

John 15:1-8 New International Version

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also 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. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“Apart from me you can do nothing.” Phrases like this one always chill me to the core. Being apart from God. Never to experience the “peace that passes all understanding.” Never to see mercy in action and feel its effect. Been there; done that. I don’t ever want to feel that way again.

I experienced a physical salvation and a spiritual confirmation when I recovered from a devastating illness at eighteen. I really was a child in many senses of the word and being so naive, I thought God had touched me of all people for a reason. Through the following years, when I did little to merit that special attention, I began to dwell on my shortcomings as insurmountable. I was ashamed at bearing no discernible fruit. I was apart from the God who had saved me. What a burden! What a waste! It took twenty years for me to discover that God knew all about those shortcomings, and loved me anyway. I struggled on my own to make sense of the world and my place in it. It took decades for me to learn that it wasn’t because I was supposed to fulfill some major predestined role that God healed me. It wasn’t about me at all! It is always, always, always about God!

Now I never want to be apart from The Vine. The love of God has made itself known to me through the Holy Spirit and I never want to be distanced from that love again. Day by day, I become more and more aware of God all around us, through us, for us. Now feel that connection that I was too ashamed to see and it has changed my life. Because Jesus is the life-giving vine, I can grow. To experience joy. To bear fruit – his fruit, not mine…something to pray about.

Your sister in Christ, Vicki