Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Empty Finger

And there it is – the slightly faded crease at the base of the ring finger on my left hand. It looks naked and exposed, and I wonder if everyone around me notices. I have worn a ring on this finger for so many years that it even measures smaller than the same finger on my right hand. This makes it a unique size that no other ring in my jewelry box can fit. I know, because I have tried.

Since the day my husband proposed to me in that beautiful mountainside chapel, shadowed by a large rugged cross, this finger has been adorned. First, it sparkled with a solitary diamond surrounded by brand new yellow gold. Ten months later, a row of diamonds in an endless band of gold added to its beauty, and my entire left hand was radiant. The stones and metal were beautiful, but the radiance did not come from them. This finger carried the signature of my commitment to a man until death do us part, as ordained before God. Then death happened. And now here I am. The empty finger is now a reminder of my loss – of that man, of that future, and of those dreams. Those rings were not just gold bands; they were symbols.

Can you relate? Like me, do you have an empty finger where wedding bands or an engagement ring used to be? Or do you look in the mirror and see some part of you that is missing, on the outside or the inside, because of illness, disease, or unspeakable loss? 

I have come to realize that my empty finger reminds me not only of my loss, but of my uncertainty about my future. Everything I thought my life would become has changed. My husband and I spent our married life sharing hopes and dreams for the future, for ourselves, and for our children. Now, I struggle to develop those lofty visions on my own. I know that God is with me, but often my mind races with fear about my unknown.

Yet again and again, my Abba Father whispers His promises into my heart, saying, “My daughter, yes, this is loss you have to bear, and yes, this has changed for you. But I never will.” 

In Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV) we are told, “It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” This God whom I serve is unchangeable and faithful to all He has made. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He will use my brokenness to fulfill His purposes for me.

Just like my rings were symbols, so is my empty finger. In time, He will fill the creases.  Verses 10 and 11 of 1 Peter 5 (NIV) make it clear: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” There is no emptiness that in His power He will not fill. In His perfect timing, my empty finger will cease to be a symbol of loss and uncertainty. Instead, He will turn it into my beacon of joy and hope through Him. What God can do for me, He can do for you.

Copyright © November 2016 Courtney Johnson. Used by permission.

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