I moved to Sonoma County four years ago! When God brought my husband and I to this beautiful place I was in awe of it’s natural beauty! Hills upon rolling hills were covered in a velvety green blanket of grass. The sky was a bright blue colored, full of fluffy white clouds.
The clouds seemed to slowly billow into formations that drew my attention and had me guessing what animal shape they were in, just like I did as a child. The hiking trails were numerous and lined with statuesque trees of every kind. Wild blackberry bushes would pop up everywhere and deer with their fawns would grace us occasionally as we hiked in and between their natural habitat. All of these sights and more drew my attention and heightened my senses, but nothing captivated me like the vines.
I was after all, smack dab in the middle of “Wine Country!” The vines were everywhere!
As we hiked, rode our bikes, or walked the winding paths through our new community the vines were ever present. My captivation with them came through the changing of the seasons.
We arrived in our new home that November. I was thrilled to have caught the end of Autumn and the beginning of Winter in my new residence. The hills had been doused with downpours of rain and remained green for quite some time. The trees had just begun to drop their leaves and the berries were not yet ripe on the bush. But the vines were ablaze with brilliant Fall colors! Red, yellow, orange and green all together gave an elegant splendor to every vine I passed.
Winter turned into Spring and the Vines were as beautiful as ever. Their leaves were stunning hues of every shade of green. They started out small and by the end of Spring were large and full. Summer brought the fruit! Oh yes, it had been growing though the Spring, but now the evidence hung full and plentiful in plain sight. Autumn returned and the vines began to display hints of those vibrant colors, red, yellow, and orange. Each season brought change, and a glorious surprise in each new phase! Yes, the Vines were quickly becoming one of my favorite pieces to our move.
Overnight, that first Fall in our new home, changed the Vines without warning! Several fires began high above us and high winds were forcing them down through the Vines and right to our back door! That first year was frightening! The fire swept so quickly and unexpectedly that not only were the vines burnt, many neighborhoods were burnt down as well. We were evacuated for over a week and lost power and dwelt with contaminated water, but our home remained untouched!
The following year the fires returned. They did not come as close as before but we were evacuated. The third year it happened again! Each time we were evacuated, but safe!
Today, I find myself writing to you after another sleepless night of warning sirens and threats of evacuation after yet another fire rages above us in the hills!
Of course I am praying for safety! Of course I am praying for the people around me to be safe! Of course I am texting faithful loved ones who I know will pray for all of us!
But this time I found myself asking God a question,
“WHY ARE THE FIRES CONTINUING TO CHASE US?”
I was tired and weary of this pattern every Fall! I was frustrated with the threat and the unknown. I was exhausted with packing and unpacking our most special possessions!
“Why God are the fires continuously chasing us?”
Then God spoke to me…
“MAYBE YOU ARE NOT TO FOCUS ON THE FIRE CHASING YOU, BUT ON YOU CHASING THE VINE!”
My heart stopped beating for a second as I took in the full meaning of what God had said.
Yes, the threat of fire is not fun! Neither is the threat of a virus, or social injustice, or a divided nation, or heat waves, or many other uncomfortable situations. But LIFE HAPPENS and LIFE IS DAILY! There are always going to be trials, temptations, fears, doubts, unjust practices, pain, hurt, sorrow, and out right bad stuff. But where is my focus and what am I chasing?
Am I chasing after the VINE, and is my branch firmly attached to Him? Or am I allowing the firestorms of life to chase me and knock me down, and sometimes OUT?
I AM THE VINE, YOU ARE THE BRANCHES. WHOEVER ABIDES IN ME AND I IN HIM, HE IT IS THAT BEARS MUCH FRUIT, FOR APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.”
I can waste my time, effort and life allowing the hard situations to chase me and overwhelm me, or I can chase after the True Vine, Jesus Christ! In Him I can bear much fruit even through the storms of life!
STAYING ATTACHED TO THE TRUE VINE IS THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE STORMS OF LIFE!
So let’s be “VINE CHASERS”, and not be chased by every difficult situation that comes our way! Keep on pressing forward my friends, He is on the throne!
Speak Truth Love