June 22, 2017

Transplants in Trouble

Psalm 80:12-19

Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

—  Psalm 80:19

My affection for raspberry plants and their fruit has spread to giving away roots to family members and friends to transplant in their gardens. The recipients will also tell you that I regularly check up on those transplants. The people who have cared well for them beam happily as they share their enjoyment of the plants and sweet fruit. But the people whose plants are in trouble (due to poor placement, neglect, or being mowed down) would rather not talk about them.

God’s extravagant love for his vine, his people, far surpasses my crazy love for raspberry plants. The writer of Psalm 80 asks God why he has broken down the walls intended to protect the vine. As a result, the fruit is stolen, and the vine is ravaged by wild animals and insects. The vine’s stalks are even cut down and burned. Most gardeners would feel justified in giving up on such a ruined vine.

Yet the psalmist boldly asks God to “watch over this vine”; the writer pleads, “revive us,” “re­store us,” and “make your face shine on us.” The plea and promise to be vibrant again is made solely on the basis that this root and its offspring belong to the Lord Almighty.

This is our only hope too, as God’s people. When we stray and struggle, let’s pray to be restored and revived also.

Lord God, when we are in trouble because of our waywardness, help us to call on you to revive us through your Son, who died for our sins to give us eternal life. Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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