In my backyard, there is a wisteria vine growing in a corner of our fence. It was given to me as an end-of-the-year teacher gift, and it’s SO beautiful.   Each year it puts on display gorgeous purple blooms.  They’re so eye-catching that one of our neighbors would take pictures of the blooms and send me the photos. Our neighbor could see them because the vine had thread itself through each fence picket to be visible on both sides of the fence.  

This past summer while working in the yard one weekend, I was pruning several of our bushes and went to do the same on the vine.  I discovered that with the vine growing through the fence, it was pulling the pickets away from the fence.  Left untended, it would do some serious damage resulting in having to mend the fence.  No way did I want to ruin the fence, so I went to work taking down the vine.  

As I worked, I was SHOCKED at the intensity of the vine system.  It was incredibly strong! With the other bushes in the yard, once I used the lopper and made a few cuts, I could pull the trimmed limbs away from the trunk easily.  This was not the case with the vine.  After cutting one part away from the main vertical part, I would pull on it to no avail. Following the cut vine to see what the problem was, I discovered that each smaller vine was connected into an additional thicker vine that ran parallel along the ground.  At this point, I decided to start cutting that part to make the work easier. 

Unfortunately, I discovered that cutting the vine system along the ground was anything but easy. Not only was it connected to the vertical vines, it was also connected to roots which had grown into the ground.  It took a lot of elbow grease and determination to slowly, but surely, make enough cuts to get the vines away from the fence and to the brush pile on our fire pit.  

I left the root in the ground, so going forward, I will make sure to pay attention to the vine as it grows to prevent it from causing damage to the fence.  Working with the vine and realizing just how strong it was made me have a whole new perspective on vines.  It also afforded me a greater understanding of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples where Jesus compares himself to a vine and God to a vinedresser.

Here is what Jesus says to his disciples:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 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. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”

John 15:1-6

As a believer in Jesus, I gain strength, hope and assurance from abiding in Jesus through faith.  With Jesus being the true vine, and myself being a branch, when I am connected to Jesus, I have the ability to bear fruit, and share the love of Christ.  Being connected by faith in Jesus also means that I am strengthened against anyone or anything who tries to change that status.  

Being on journey with Jesus, I have learned through trials and hardships just how secure I am when I rest in the saving grace of Jesus.  Realizing just how strong vines are reminds me what a gift it is to abide in Jesus and in return, have Jesus abide in me.  

Each time I see a vine, it will serve as an awesome reminder that I have the ability to tap into the strength that comes with believing in, and abiding in, Jesus.  I hope this will be the same for you when you see a vine.  If you do not already know Jesus as Savior, I pray seeing a vine will be like an awaiting invitation and one that is accepted to join in the strength and joy that comes with being a part of God’s family!