With my heart in my hand, I want to confess that my hopeful outlook on life, my reliable optimism, and the consistency of my steadfast faith is as fragile as it has ever been. No, not the head game. Not the knowledge of God. Not the big picture. The foxes are eating the grapes in my vineyard.
Because it provides so much insight into growing up spiritually, I overuse the fruit of the Spirit word picture. But it is so rich. Indulge me once again. Plant a seed. Water that seed. Add water (studying the Word of God) and sunlight (prayer and conversing with our God).
Watch for the sprout. Wait.Wait.Wait. More water and sunlight. Grow into a strong, sturdy plant that can withstand frost and drought. This really is my life's work. Plain and simple. (For a city girl, I do love a good farming metaphor. Thanks, New Testament writers.)
Back to my own personal vineyard: the place where the small, unexpected troubles are upsetting me. These foxes steal my fruit: love, joy, peace and the rest. I have so much for which to be thankful. I have so many people for whom to be thankful. I have some disappointments. I had dreams and plans for myself that were not the best dreams and plans for my growing family. I am still uncomfortable with living so far from my parents, brothers and my in-laws. And those friends who once walked in my daily life and now rarely see or hear from me.They are hard at work in their own vineyards. I know that.
My vineyard has fruit missing. It has gaps and holes. It isn't perfect. My reactions and perspective are lacking at times when I wish my words had been instead. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. - Psalm 107:1-2
Yet, I need to confess the truth. My fields have not been scorched. They have not been destroyed. My little world keeps spinning.
And tucked into the most romantic book in the Bible is this verse about having a fox in your vineyard. My mom has often quoted this verse to me. We occasionally recognized this petty theft happening in our fields.
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.
-Song of Solomon 2:15
My family is in bloom. My personal vineyard is growing and bearing fruit. I am watering and spending time in the sun with them. I can't pause or stop this season now if I wanted to. But I can catch the foxes. I can defend my vineyard from the foxes in my heart.