Beauty in the Vineyard

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. — I John 4:18[1]

Change. Sometimes we seek it; sometimes it seeks us. Change often provokes fear because with it comes uncertainty. Will extra baggage, a detour, or a longer journey come along with change?

Have you ever felt change coming? I took a trip recently to California to write and pray. The timing seemed unusual. Most people would not venture out then, let alone by themselves. If not for my husband’s encouragement and the invitation of three friends I would see along the way, fear could have prevented me from going. But love for them and the Lord propelled me to take this journey from Texas to California and back again.

As I drove through New Mexico, Arizona, and California, I quoted verses, books of the Bible I had written on my heart. You might say that Hosea, Titus, Matthew, John, and Solomon rode along with me. I mediated on God’s Word as the scenery sped by and changed over the course of three days.

When I arrived at the vineyard, the setting of the evening sun offered only the empty arms of the vines, the absence of green. Spring had not yet sprung. The scene reminded me of the Lord bringing me through the coldness of winter, his warmth keeping me alive as I rested in him—a much different view from when I had walked away from the Lord previously. That season of winter felt empty, lonely, and full of anxiety. But these days, his peace stills my soul, keeping fear away.

During my eleven days at the vineyard, I saw the winter change. I noticed that the birth of spring takes pain, whether good or bad. A flowering plant must break the ground. The baby bird must break its own shell. And the hydrangea, which starts off small, grows at a rapid rate of twenty-five inches or more per year. That takes labor.

You can see this process throughout Scripture. When the Lords brings about change, he asks his people to participate with him in some form of labor. Moses, in war against the Amalekites, had to hold up his arms (Exodus 17:8–15). The Israelites under Joshua had to hamstring the horses and burn chariots (Joshua 11). And Gideon sent unarmed men, who carried pots, torches, and trumpets, to encircle the camp of the Midianites (Judges 7). Each of these men had to step out in faith, which brought them success and change. We, too, have to step out in faith so that our “faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power,” as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:5.

On my last full day at the vineyard, I sat down and asked the Lord the same question I asked at the beginning, “Why did you bring me here now?” Just then, a text appeared on my phone stating that the owner of the vineyard had left a box for me filled with kumquats and lemon—citrus goods that made it through the winter and still hung on the trees. Then words from Song of Solomon came into my mind: “and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my beloved” (Song of Solomon 4:16).

I realized my question had been answered—a two-fold gift. The first: I felt the Lord say to me, “I want you to know that I know you love me.” It is one thing to love someone; it is another to know that they see the love you have for them. The importance of God expressing this to me healed a wound from my past.

The other gift signaled a change of season for me. I finally found the strength to cling to the Lord’s love and to let go of the fear of men and their criticism. When I returned home, I stepped out and wrote my first poem. It was hard enough for me to memorize Song of Solomon in its poetic form, let alone write in verse myself. Then I designed sixteen note cards from the pictures I took at the vineyard and paired them with phrases from Song of Solomon. In this new season, I am different—bolder, more confident, and more determined—and ready to release the creativity inside of me. There is no fear in love.

Is the Lord asking you to be still, to step forward, and to embrace the gift he has given you?

The sixteen vineyard images paired with phrases from Song of Solomon and my poem are available for purchase in anote card set titled “The Vineyard Series” at the Time in the Desert Bookstore.

[1] All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©2011 by Biblica, Inc.™


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