Written by Kaylen Balmer.
It was spring; a hard winter was behind us. While on a casual morning walk, I saw something amazing that made me take a second look. I had passed a dogwood tree full of little buds ready to burst into life in a couple of weeks. I then noticed a dangling branch that had snapped from the weight of winter’s heavy snow, but it had not broken off. What was so amazing about that? The broken little branch was just as full of buds and ready to bloom as the rest of the tree! It seemed humanly impossible for the little branch to have life in it; it appeared to be hanging on by only a thread.
My mind went immediately to that very familiar passage about the True Vine, John 15:4, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” That little branch was a brilliant example of what it means to abide and of the life that abiding brings!
Have you ever felt like you were hanging on by nothing more than a thread? The important thing is that you are hanging on! Sometimes, winter storms bring heavy snow and ice, causing tree branches to snap. We can feel that way about the “winter storms” of life. Recently after an ice storm in the Midwest, I saw a picture of many damaged trees with branches that had succumbed to the weight of the ice. The branches that appeared to be strong had broken from the tree and had been found lying in a heap on the ground. It could be that the branch had been diseased or had a weak spot—God’s natural pruning. God will prune that which does not bear fruit. Once we are pruned, God says, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you”(John 15:3).
Being pruned and cleansed is not a pleasant experience. There are many things in life that we can and maybe should let go of – things such as bad habits, troubling memories and damaging relationships. While it’s imperative to let go of those things that weigh us down, we should never let go of the Vine! How is it possible to hang on when there seems to be no strength left? John 15:7 tells us,
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
God tells us that the only way to abide in him is to allow his Word to abide in us. Scofield says, “The abiding one takes all burdens to [God], and draws all wisdom, life and strength from him.” This is accomplished by spending much time in God’s Word and allowing it to dwell in us. God’s Word keeps us rooted in the truth. His Word is the only sure foundation, and it is the final authority whereby we live our lives. When the storms of life get strong and you feel like you are hanging on by a thread, it is essential to remember God’s Word, recite his promises and remind yourself about his character and who he is. The Word gives life. Hebrews 4:12 states, “God’s Word is quick and powerful…” Literally, his Word is alive! The Word is the life that surges through the Vine into the branches, giving renewed life and strength and eventually causing the branch to bear fruit. When His branches bear much fruit, God is glorified (verse 8).
I love to watch a beautiful snowfall from inside the warmth of my home. While bundled in a thick warm sweater and sipping a steaming, hot cup of coffee, I can watch for hours as the snow falls peacefully to the ground. However, when the winter storm brings the harsh winds, the heavy snow or ice and plummeting temperatures, it suddenly loses its beauty and serenity.
Are you going through a storm in life right now? Maybe it’s a cold winter storm of harsh words, heavy burdens, painful loss or disappointments. You’ve prayed and remained faithful, yet it feels like spring will never come. All around you feels cold, and you feel that you may “snap” under the pressure. It is at that time, more than ever, that you need to hold fast to the Vine. Abide in him. It is through God’s Word that we have life and find the strength to hang on. So remember the tender little branch. If we stay connected to the True Vine during the winter storms of life, even if only by a thread, we too will blossom in the springtime!
This article was published in the Spring 2017 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
To contact Kaylen, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook.