Old ivy (Hedera taurica) on stem of tree

This morning the blue-white glow of a computer screen lit my office long before the rosy red fingers of dawn. It wasn’t until the phone “ping-pinged” with an incoming message that the realization struck me that the room had been overtaken by sunlight. Just as I was wondered why my husband and our dogs were nowhere in sight, I heard a moan emanate from the bedroom followed by the sharp bark of our ever faithful border collie.

I reached the bedroom door just in time to watch my husband’s valiant effort to reach a standing position and hear Bonnie give him another round of encouragement. Hunley, our Lhasa/Shiatsu mix was already on the bed simultaneously looking helpless and concerned.   When I asked Bill if he was OK he said, “I don’t know. Do you think you could rub my back for me?” I knew he was really hurting when I teased him with the line, “Alright, but just a backrub – that’s all,” and his reply was a single syllable, “deal,” as he rolled back onto the bed.

As I rubbed Bio-Freeze across the muscles of his lower back, I listened as he talked in a pillow-muffled voice. “Do you remember what that gardener guy we saw on TV said? I think it was something like, ‘I hate this plant with the burning intensity of a thousand suns’. Well “roger that” for wood vines and pass the Roundup. “ http://nyti.ms/1O6QJhf

All this agony, brought about by the previous day’s attempts at freeing the oaks that border our property of their thorny wood vines , brought to mind Bruce Wilkinson’s book, Secrets of The Vine, which ultimately led me to my bookshelf for a quick review. http://amzn.to/1fDfuXk  

Flipping through the pages, I was reminded that when Jesus spoke of Himself being “The Vine” and those who believe in Him being “the branches,” He was walking with His disciples through a vineyard filled with plants that had been bearing fruit for generations. (John 15:5)

There are many lessons to be learned in the parable of The Vine, but the one that strikes me most is the difference between those who choose to abide in or connect themselves with Christ, and those who choose not to. Believers, like grapevine branches, even when connected to The Vine, are susceptible to falls that can leave them lying in the mud to spoil. Likewise, people living like mighty oaks, independently standing tall and strong are susceptible to being overrun by thorny vines.

The difference is when the weight of pride, lusts of the flesh, hatred and unforgiveness (to mention just a few) cause the branches of a grapevine to fall, there is a Vine Dresser Who will come to lift them up, wash them off and reestablish their connection to The Vine. Independent, self-sufficient oaks have no vine dresser to tend them when the thorny, invasive vines of the world, the flesh and the devil twist their way up and into their lives.

The good news is – it does not have to continue that way. You see, unlike my husband whose stamina was outstripped by the vines he was attempting to remove, our Heavenly Father is mighty to save and His mercy and power endure forever. Nothing is too hard for Him! He can not only remove the vines, He can also work them into something beautiful. (Romans 8:28)

If you feel strangled by the thorny vines of life, LOOK UP, cry out to your Creator, the one, true, living God of heaven. He will come to you, lift you up, free you from the vines that threaten to choke you and give you new life through His Son, Jesus – The Vine.

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