As my sweet friend recently said, “You are ugly when you are sick!” You may be thinking I sarcastically describe my friend as ‘sweet,’ I don’t. You also may be thinking what an awful thing for a friend to say!! Hold your horses- let me explain… I’ll confess, she’s right, but you’ll have to hear me out.
Everyone should have a friend like mine; she brings me so much joy! She says the funniest things and I feel very much myself when I get to be around her.
Let me set the current stage I find myself in. I am sick… Actually the adjective I would currently use to describe me- a mess. About a week the awful beginnings of a horrible cold was creeping its way into my joyful being. The joy was being sucked out of me and as a result- I was becoming ugly. No I don’t mean in the physical sense, though I would have to say my appearance was (and really still isn’t) publicly acceptable.
I said something extremely snarky, and her equally as snarky (all-to-unbeknownst-to-her-true) response was “You are ugly when you’re sick.” She didn’t really mean it… she was saying my words were ugly. But really what was becoming ugly was my silly little heart.
The duration of my sickness has been quite the test. I’ll spare you from the agonizing details, if you’d like to be filled in call my mom. Cut to yesterday, at school we had a lovely chapel. And the lovely chapel had a speaker who said just the lovely words my ugly heart needed to hear.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned…
… If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:4-6&9, ESV)
Wow. Okay so my heart has been an awful ugly branch-I wouldn’t even say I was trying to bear fruit- except maybe health. And all of this to say- I realized I need to watch myself when I get sick- or frustrated- or when things are not going my way. Eyes on the prize- eyes on Jesus, rather. Abiding in Him is the only way we bear any fruit.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:5, ESV)
As for me, I am still getting over this sickness- still a mess, but eyes in the right place. I may not feel like outwardly this is true, but I am not an ugly, dead branch. Though I am coughing uncontrollably as I type, I know healing is in my future. I am thankful for the grace of God, and the knowledge that He is constantly good.
Thank you for reading beautiful branches,