Every morning like clockwork, I would lace up my shoes, step outside as the sunrose, and take my daily walk. As soon as our state instituted stay-at-home orders last year, I instituted this ritual. With the rhythmic pounding of my feet on the pavement, I found a safe space to process the pandemic. Outside my crowded home, I walked alone and wrestled with my thoughts and feelings, my worries and fears. As I wound my way through suburban streets day after day, I also found a kindred spirit — a grapevine, growing along a chain link fence.
There it stood, severely pruned back, cut down to its bare bones, raw and vulnerable, barren and beaten, exposed and alone. Dark, twisted branches held tight to their vine, supported by an industrial trellis.
Every single day, I walked past that grapevine, feeling understood by my new friend in our mutual loneliness and despair. This grapevine was a physical representation, an acknowledgement of the pain we all experienced in the shadows of COVID. With so much of our previous lives trimmed and tossed away, the pandemic pruned us all back in our own ways.
Day after day, I visited that spot, wondering how long until life might return — for my grapevine and for me. And then, one day, like a miracle, tiny, beautiful buds emerged. Shoots of hope emanated from that which seemed lifeless for so long. I watched breathless as the buds unfurled into leaf after leaf, and the once empty grapevine eventually became engulfed in glorious green.
So many leaves pushed up and out and open, begging the sun for light and life, for renewal and restoration. They were like open hands, receiving every drop of sustenance and strength the sun could provide. As the grapevine sent out its leaves, I sent up prayers to heaven, and we both lay in wait, longing for redemption from the rawness of this pruning.
Months and months of prayer spilled on the pavement as the vine continued to bloom, and finally, after waiting for what seemed like forever for life to show up, full, luscious grapes appeared on the vine. Sweet and abundant life was borne from a cold, harsh season. Praise be to God.
I don’t know about you, but for me, last year was rough. In many ways, I still feel pruned and raw. The idea of producing delicious fruit from my barren branches seems pretty impossible — until I remember that grapevine.
It remained patient through the pain. It reached out and received strength from the sun. That grapevine reminded me daily of the beauty that comes from waiting, the power of prayer, and the promise of God working around me and for me to one day produce fruit in me and through me. It taught me what is actually looks like to be “patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12) as I look forward to the day when I will feel less like a barren branch and more like “a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season” (Psalm 1:3).
May we all remain patient in the pruning, staying firmly fixed to the Vine. May we keep meditating on God’s Word and repeating His promises as we hold on for dear life to hope in Christ.
May we all become persistent in prayer, reaching up and out to the Son, relying fully and completely on the light and life that can only be found in constantly turning to Him.
And may we all rest in the knowledge that there will be fruit one day. God will refresh and restore us, in His time and for His glory, because He wastes nothing.Leave a Comment