Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: Who Needs Vines?
By Betsy Markman
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A vine is a relentless thing. It clings, and climbs, and creeps. Hack it up a thousand times and it will come right back, completely undaunted. An unfortunate gardener may work himself into exhaustion trying to rid himself of a vine, but the resolute invader never thinks of surrender. Instead it rewards the gardener’s exertions with more of its own effortless, optimistic growth.
That’s because the vine is clever. It isn’t content to take over the ground and the trees and the walls where it’s vulnerable to attack. No, it forms a huge network underground, too. In fact, that’s where its greatest strength lies. The main body of the vine serves as an almost unshakeable foundation from which all of its surface life springs. If you can get rid of the main vine, the rest will die. But an established underground vine is almost impossible to eradicate. Ask any gardener.
Its hardiness wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so greedy. A vine is never satisfied. It stretches out long, hungry fingers until entire forests lie helpless in its grasp, and then it smothers and squeezes and chokes the life out of everything it touches.
Who needs vines?
Jesus said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches.”
I am a branch. I’m an offshoot. Just a little tendril attached to a mighty Lifegiver. Frankly, I don’t think I’ve grown nearly as much as I should have in forty-one years. But nevertheless, here I am. Don’t waste any more time looking at me. Look at the One who gives me life.
My Lifegiver has a proud history. He has spread out in all directions, never giving any quarter despite ruthless opposition. He’s been gaining ground since long before I sprouted, and He’ll continue long after I’m gone.
The enemy suffers no lack of gardeners. Some of them have even been masters. From Emperor Nero to Osama Bin Ladin to countless lesser adversaries, the foes of the Vine renew their attacks. They’ve hacked, they’ve killed, they’ve caused a world of hurt. Many a fine branch has fallen in its prime.
The Vine laughs. He scorns the weapons which are wielded against him, weapons intended to destroy, brandished in futility. What the enemy means for evil, my Lifegiver means for good. Under His protection the enemy’s machetes become pruning shears, his poisons become fertilizer.
The Vine spreads itself deeper into the domain of sin and death. Life grows inexorably over the walls of Hades. Vitality wraps itself around the mightiest oaks of Hell. The strongholds of Satan will crumble under the advance of the Eternal One, until “All the earth will be filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.” (Habakkuk 2:14b, NLT)
Death’s doom is sure.
Of all this I am privileged to be a part. No matter if the final victory is won long after I’m gone, for this is no ordinary vine. His Life conquers Death not only for the world, but also for me, so that even if I die I will live to take part in His triumph.
Who needs a Vine?
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