We rounded the corner of our house after being away for a while and gasped. Tire tracks churned through the yard. Piles of rocks and flagstones, uprooted from the old terrace, lay everywhere. The back yard was a rough sea of mud and debris. “My garden!” was all I could think. Everything from lilies to raspberries — gone! Who knew that building an addition would create so much collateral damage?
Looking out over that disaster of a yard gave me some (very small!) level of empathy as I read in the Bible about Israel when its enemies swept down and conquered them, carrying the people into exile. Much of the land was laid waste in the process. Israel was seen as the Lord’s own vineyard, which he had planted with choice vines in fertile soil (see Isaiah 5). Now, due to their sin, the land was ruined.
Our lives can feel like that sometimes, whether because of our own sin or the sins of others, or because we live in a fallen world. We go through times of upheaval and darkness. Times when we feel dry and barren or worse. At those times, hope in God! His plans don’t end in dust and dirt, even if sometimes our path goes through them. God is the master of bringing life from death, and he has called you to fruitfulness.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you
that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide. (John 15:16)
To Israel, the prophet Isaiah gave hope that God would heal their ravaged lives and make them fruitful:
In that day:
“A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
I, the Lord, am its keeper;
every moment I water it.
Lest any one harm it,
I guard it night and day;
I have no wrath.
Would that I had thorns and briers to battle!
I would set out against them,
I would burn them up together.
Or let them lay hold of my protection,
let them make peace with me,
let them make peace with me.”
In days to come Jacob shall take root,
Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots,
and fill the whole world with fruit.
Thanks be to God who is my keeper, who has his eye on the vineyard of my life and wants me to bear fruit. Jesus, help me keep my eyes on You and off the mess around me!
© 2019 Sarah Christmyer
A similar version of this article appeared previously on the Women in the New Evangelization (WINE) blog.
You might also like:
- NO PAIN NO GAIN? NO DEATH, NO LIFE (John 12:20-33)
- LIFE IN THE VINE: Winter Pruning (thoughts on John 15)
- ARE YOU BEARING FRUIT?