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God's Promise in the Middle of Winter: A Review of In My Father's Vinyard by Wayne Jacobsen
A book to inspire you!
Southern California doesn’t really have much in the way of seasons. Sure, a few trees will finally lose their leaves sometime in February and it’s common to barely need a sweater to go outside in December. This year the weather seemed a little more wintery than usual. A little colder, maybe a little more rain, even a smidgen of snow.
I know the rest of the country is feeling the onslaught of winter. When I was growing up in Utah, winter seemed to last forever. So spring was a BIG DEAL. Winter started in October and below zero temperatures and snow covered everything was the rule until April. But I remember my childlike excitement when I saw the first bright green buds of spring peeking out of barren snow covered branches near our house. It was the promise that winter was going to end soon.
Sometimes life can seem like winter. Long cold stretches of time with very little to get excited about. The days seem dark and all too brief. We know these times are seasonal and things will improve but when? How? And then suddenly a patch of joyous green shoots out of an all but dead branch and hope springs eternal.
Wayne Jacobsen’s book In My Father’s Vineyard is that patch of green. The other day when I was feeling that wintry darkness and sat overwhelmed in my office, my eyes fell on this lovely book that was given to me by a friend a year ago. It’s a thin book. Only 110 pages. I had read it eagerly back then, underlining passage after passage. As I looked at it again, I knew it was what God wanted to say to me. “I am the true vine you are the branches.”
There are a number of books that talk about the wonderful sermon that Jesus gave to his disciples the night before his death. Last year I wrote about Bruce Wilkinson’s lovely book Secrets of the Vine. It’s a lesson that I need to hear again and again.
In this book, Jacobsen talks about the vineyard where he grew up and he explains why it is such a perfect metaphor for teaching us how to have fruitful lives. We are reminded that Jesus is our true vine and it is by our clinging to Him that we get our life and strength. By ourselves we can do nothing. And the more attached we are to the vine, the more fruit we will produce. It always comes back to this. We must stay close to God. I know how much I want to race off and “do stuff.” But unless I am firmly attached to Him all my busy-ness will not produce the fruit worthy of Him.
This lovely book which was as beautiful to look at as it was to read was a much needed salve for my weary soul. It reminded me that all God requires of me is to remain attached to Him and He will take care of the rest. Spring is just around the corner. We have God’s promise.