Why The Fig Tree & The Vine

A Wedding & A Title

When Andy and I were married, we had Habakkuk 3:17-19 read at our wedding. This isn’t the typical 1 Corinthians 13 exhortation to love your spouse all the days of your life. Nor do these words immediately appear to exude joy- such as one experiences at a wedding. Quite the opposite. Desolation. Despair. Gloom. These words better describe one’s first impression of the text. And I’m sure some in attendance questioned or perhaps even found it strange that words such as “fig tree” or “grapes on the vines” or “cattle in the stalls” were being recited while we held hands and minutes later would vow to love each other until death do us part. Yet, these words, despite their seemingly odd or even depressing phrasing were in fact a prophetic and promising picture of a life of joy, hope, salvation, and yes, even love. This passage echoed the eternal covenant God had made with His people that despite what calamities or hardships or trials they may face, He would be their God and they would be His people. It would be the Lord Himself who would be their joy. His salvation would cause their hearts and lips to praise Him. And no amount of desolation could separate them from His goodness and sovereign reign.

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

Why This Name For Your Blog?

This title was not derived from a really deep love of horticulture. Despite my love of nature, the title of this blog holds a more profound significance for me. 

Fig trees are often found within scriptural text as a metaphor for the nation of Israel. While Habakkuk’s words are read in light of Israel’s exile, we too can cling to this promise as heirs of God’s kingdom through Jesus. The fig trees of our lives may not always blossom. There will be hard times. There will be times when everything around us is not going as planned. We may find ourselves in moments of despair and heartache. But even if the bounty around us runs dry or grows rotten, our own lives can still bear forth fruit that never spoils. Not only that, but we also have the unending promise of a God who is faithful to offer us Himself regardless of our own shortcomings and desolate situations.

However in order to bear fruit, we must abide in the Vine. Jesus’ words in John 15:1-17 helps us to understand how and why we are to abide in Him. By abiding in Christ we find the unending source of life and the strength to produce much fruit. Jesus calls us to set our roots deep in His truth so that we may truly know the love God has for us and what it means to live a life overflowing with joy. Consequently it is through this joy we follow His commandments and are set free to love others in Jesus’ name.

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. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. – John 15:4-11

And so from the context of these verses this blog was named. I want my readers to know the place from which I write. Namely, from a place of desiring to deeply abide in God’s word. In return, I hope this act of abiding in His truth will result in a changed life full of good fruit that is to be shared with others through acts of love. And because our lives are rooted in Jesus, we can have an unwavering trust in the goodness and sovereignty of God, even if the fig trees of our lives wither and die. But even more, despite circumstances that our out of our control, when we abide in the love of Christ we can always rejoice in the God of our salvation. 

My great hope is that the words you read here will point you to these truths.

Welcome to The Fig Tree & The Vine.