By Sarah Christmyer
We came around the corner of our house after some time away and gasped. Huge tire tracks churned through the yard. Piles of rocks and flagstones, uprooted from the terrace, lay everywhere. The back yard was a rough sea of mud and debris. “My garden!” was all I could think. Everything from lilies to raspberries — gone! Who knew that building an addition would create so much collateral damage?
Reading Isaiah this morning, looking out over that disaster of a yard, it gave me some (very small!) level of empathy with Israel back in the days when Babylon swept down and conquered them, carrying many off into exile. Much of the land was laid waste in the process. Israel was seen as the Lord’s own vineyard, which he had planted with choice vines in fertile soil (see Isaiah 5). Now, due to their sin, the land was ruined.
Our lives feel like that sometimes, whether because of our own sin or sins of others, or because we live in a fallen world. We go through times of upheaval and darkness. Times when we feel dry and barren or worse. At those times, hope in God! His plans don’t end in dust and dirt, even if sometimes our path goes through them. He is the master of bringing life from death, and he has called you to fruitfulness (see John 15:16!).
To Israel, Isaiah gave hope that God would heal their ravaged lives and make them fruitful:
In that day—
“Sing about a fruitful vineyard:
I, the LORD, watch over it;
I water it continually.
I guard it day and night
so that no one may harm it….’
In days to come Jacob will take root,
Israel will bud and blossom
and fill all the world with fruit.”
Thanks be to God who is my keeper, who has his eye on the vineyard of my life and wants me to bear fruit. Jesus, help me keep my eyes on You and off the mess around me!
About the Author:
Sarah Christmyer is a Catholic author, Bible teacher and speaker with a special love for lectio divina and journaling as ways to draw close to Christ in Scripture. She is co-developer with Jeff Cavins of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program, and author or co-author of many of the studies. Sarah is an adjunct faculty member at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where she teaches Scripture to men in their Spiritual Year. Sarah blogs at Come Into the Word.