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God is Moving in His Vineyard

Yesterday I went on a walk. The blue sky was almost covered with big puffy white clouds. My Christian playlist was on shuffle, and the song “New Wine” pulled up almost right out of the gate. It’s always been one of my favorites, but when it came on yesterday, I just so happened to be surrounded by vineyards. It was more than just a coincidence. It was one of those moments when you just know that God is speaking. So I kept listening.

“Speak Lord your servant is listening.”

I decided I would replay the song for as long as I was surrounded by vineyards — which, yesterday, was pretty much my entire route. I really felt there was something God wanted me to know - something that I wasn’t going to hear in a few short minutes. So, every time the song came to an end, I clicked ⏪ the back button to replay it. And each time I replayed it, I “heard” something new.

“In the crushing

In the pressing

You are making

New wine...”

Has anyone else felt the crushing and the pressing lately? Has anyone else felt the squeeze of life, of Covid, of everything in the wake of it?

Yeah, me too. So I played it again. ⏪

“In the soil,

I now surrender

You are breaking,

New ground...”

Has anyone else felt like you’ve been replanted, lately? Like you’ve been transplanted to new (completely unfamiliar) ground? Maybe even like you’re “breaking” at times?

Yeah, me too. So I played it again. ⏪

“So I yield to You and

to Your careful hand.

When I trust You I

don't need to understand...”

Has anyone else felt like nothing makes sense anymore? Like it’s getting harder and harder to understand what’s happening and to trust Him in it?

Yeah, me too. So I played it again. ⏪

“Make me Your vessel

Make me an offering

Make me whatever

You want me to be...

Jesus, bring new wine out of me.”

Here’s where things got interesting. Here’s where I knew Jesus was asking me to profess these words - not just sing them. Here’s where I kind of just laid down my life in those vineyards and said, “Okay, Lord. Okay.”

Okay to the crushing and the pressing and everything He’s trying to “ready” me for through it.

Okay to the new ground He’s breaking in me as I try to grow in the “new normal” that I hate so very very much.

Okay to the nonsensical, illogical, impractical, and irrational changes and behaviors that surround me.

Okay to becoming His vessel, that brings sense to the nonsensical and light to the darkness.

“Okay, Lord, okay.”

About this time, the puffy white clouds had turned dark and gray. The sky opened up and the rain began to fall - and it fell hard. I had to put my phone in my pocket so it didn’t get wet (no more ⏪ replays). And I started to run (even though I shouldn’t have because a recent injury isn’t completely healed yet).

Anyway, when I started running, another song shuffled on: it was “Fullness” by Elevation Worship.

“Spirit come, Spirit come...

Pour it out, let Your love run over me...”

The rain was literally pouring out from the sky like living water. I felt it running over me. The wind picked up and blew so hard against me that it felt like I wasn’t making any progress forward at all. But I kept running, and the song kept playing...

“Spirit come, Spirit come...

Pour it out, let Your love run over me...”

It’s hard to put this experience into words. It was an encounter with the living God who walked (and ran) with me yesterday for about 3 miles. And looking back, I see exactly what He was trying to tell me.

Like He’s already told us once before: He is the vine, and we are the branches, and we must remain in him always because apart from him, we can do nothing. (Jn. 15:5)

We, the church, are God’s vineyard. (Isaiah 5) And He will not leave it abandoned, or unattended. He walks in His vineyard daily — speaking, teaching, guiding.

If we are listening and watching, we’ll encounter Him there. But we have to be listening and watching. Otherwise, we will only see the crushing and the pressing and the breaking and the darkness. We will only feel the wind and the rain and the resistance.

If we aren’t listening and watching, we won’t see Him. And if we don’t see Him, we won’t “remain in him.” If we don’t remain in Him then remember, “apart from Him we can do nothing.” Nothing. At. All.

We can’t grow. We can’t bear fruit for the kingdom — fruit like patience, courage, perseverance, and love. Fruit that, in the beginning, is undeveloped. It is small and hard and kind of bitter. Fruit that grows with time. Fruit that sweetens in not just the sun, but also the storm. Fruit that, when pressed and crushed in trial and adversity, makes new wine for new believers.

I'm not going to lie, the home stretch was really difficult yesterday, but I guess that’s how it is on the journey through life, too. The closer you get to the kingdom the more resistance and difficulty you’re going to face... The more your injuries will be aggregated. The less progress you’ll feel you’re making.

But keep going, friend. The more life squeezes, the more grace He will pour out over us. And soon enough we will be able to exclaim with St Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Keep going, friend. Keep. Going. God is moving in His vineyard. And you are not alone.

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