I have one "custom-made" piece of jewelry - a pinky ring. It is made up of some gold from various pieces I had, but the most precious part of the ring is the three diamonds channel set at an angle into this ring. They are from my mom's wedding band. After dad passed, mom knew I had a desire to have the ring made. I had only one diamond to place there and was considering placing a couple of amethysts next to it, but she offered the diamonds. The "value" of the ring went up right there! It wasn't just the physical value of the ring, but the value the heirloom portion of this ring! She gave me a "piece" of what dad and she shared - nearly thirty years of great love! No amount of planning on my part would have produced the same ring! I have worn this ring every day for twenty plus years. It has worn an indentation into my pinky finger!
The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, and a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger. (Proverbs 25:11-12 MSG)
What you may not know is the gold which went into making this ring was from my wedding band and engagement ring. After my divorce, I didn't know what to do with the rings. One day, it came to me to allow them to be "re-created" since God was deeply at work in my life "re-creating" me from the inside out. In fact, it became important to me to have these rings made into something which spoke a message to my heart each time I looked at the ring.
The "gift" of the three small diamonds made the ring perfect! They remind me of the everlasting love of my parents - their support and commitment to me over the years served to bring me through many a bad spot - just like the love of my heavenly father. Mom and dad never lost hope - even when I was wayward and wandering. They prayed for my safety and were there to always welcome me back when I had strayed. Their love for each other stood the test of many a trial - the memory of this love for each other and for me goes with me now each day in a very "physical" reminder - my little ring.
You see, as I look at this ring, it is not a wimpy band - it is solid. God's message to me in those early years after my divorce is reflected in the solidness of this ring. He always kept (and keeps) reminding me he would surround me with his "solidness". His "rock-solid" foundation became ever more solid with each step I took toward the healing of my heart. In turn, his "surrounding" grace has always been what leaves an "impression" on my life. Just as the ring has produced an "impression" on my finger, his grace has left its mark in my heart!
It also has these three small diamonds - none bigger than the other. They sit at an angle - crosswise. I wear this ring on my left hand - one finger removed from my ring finger where the wedding band had been. The three diamonds which are set deeply into the solidness of the gold speak to me of the tangent my small family took as a result of the divorce. We had each other, none more important than the other, none more in need of God's grace and protection than the other. In the midst of being a little removed from our original position as a family of four, we were surrounded by God's protection and his love.
A simple ring, but it speaks volumes to me. Our writer today reminds us of the "value" of the words of a friend - they are like a custom-made piece of jewelry slipped on our finger. They are well-spoken in the right timing. Just as the time came for the old rings to go and the new to be fashioned, so there are times in our lives when the old has to go and the new is beckoning to begin. In these moments, the words of a friend are often the catalyst by which change begins.
There is much which can be said about the value in listening to the words of encouragement from a friend, but our writer really reminds us of the reprimand of a friend. Some of the greatest moments in my life have come when a friend has taken time to "set me straight" by giving me the right word at the right time. Sure, the message might has "stung" a little at first, but it isn't until we peel the scab away from a sore that the scar really is free to heal and fade! There are times we need to see the "ugliness" of our "scabbed lives" in order to create a desire to be free of the "scabs". The first step in healing is in recognizing we are injured!
We all have things from our past and present which we might not know what to do with - things which resemble the "ugliness" of "scabs". Sure, the injuries are covered - but not with the beauty of the newness God desires to bring forth. In the aptly spoken words of a friend, the scar may be exposed. In the continued encouragement of their continued "speaking into" our lives, the scar eventually fades and is only a subtle reminder of the injuries of times past. Just sayin!