The True Gardener
"I am the true vine, and my father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. John 15: 1-8 (NRSV)
Every spring Jeannie Hughes, from West Virginia, anticipated the white and lilac blossoms of her wisteria bursting from the branches. She was always surprised by their beauty. But for the last two years her plants have had fewer blooms. Virginia Creeper vines were slowly strangling her wisteria. Every time her husband and Jeannie removed a vine, another one would take its place.
Similarly Jeannie has allowed her own circumstances to stifle her relationship with God - losing her son in a car wreck, caring for her mother as she slowly slipped away due to Alzheimer's, and watching her husband struggle with cancer. Jeannie was trying to handle all of this alone and found it hard to give control over to God. Instead, she began questioning the challenges. Why was she experiencing so much heartache?
As time passed, she realized she could never bloom alone. She needed to remember the promise of Jesus. He is the true vine and when we remain connected to Christ, we can find new life springing from heartache or despair.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to turn to you for help so that our love for you can bloom, bringing joy to our lives and glory to you, in Jesus' name. Amen.