Okay, okay, so mayyyyyybe I'm a little stuck on the whole grapevine thing. (I wrote about them here and here.)
Probably because it's the only plant during the past ten years that I haven't killed.
Well, okay, so maybe I did kill it once, but it came back to life. A regular ol' Lazarus of a plant.
But more than that, the vine is brought up so often in scriptures (both in divine threats as well as in messages of hope) and every time I look at it I get some kind of new revelation of how it truly does compare to the relationship between us and God.
As I've watched the vine bud this year, it's been with a bit of trepidation, I'll admit. You see, I stopped pruning it last year near the end of the season and a lot of the leaves withered and browned and fell off. I was afraid that perhaps I had finally done the deed and sent it off to the great vineyard in the sky.
So, this year when those glorious, itty-bitty buds began appearing I was so relieved. And then I was ecstatic as I watched them burst out in beautiful grape leaves! I carefully arranged the branches that had fallen from where I had trained them last year, and then I noticed something about the buds and the branches that had me a bit crestfallen. The tips of the branches weren't budding. They weren't growing. They weren't showing any signs of new life. I was afraid that my vines weren't going to grow any longer.
When my husband pointed out the same thing, I responded with a little dejected, "I know." He responded, "But these are new branches. New areas of growth for the grape clusters to grow. They are coming from the branches that we grew last year."
And immediately again I had my God-Grapevine-January moment.
Sometimes, I want for my spiritual growth to happen in the exact same way. on the exact same path. following the exact same formula.
I want Jesus to train me as He has always trained me before. I want to know what to expect. I want to be able to plan for what is coming.
But, so often, God takes a 90 degree turn and shoots me off in a direction that I had not expected. Just like those grapevines. He is making new growth in my life from the branches that He grew in me last season! The journeys of faith (and faithlessness, I'll admit) that He and I have gone through over the past few years... those are sorta, stopping. There are new journeys that we are embarking upon together. A new direction.
New journeys that will result in new fruit, new "grapes", in me. And that fruit is what brings God glory!
When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. John 15:8Them is gonna be some downright glorious grapes!