The following text is simply the 6th “chapter” of Don’t Follow Your Heart, by Jon Bloom. I was really encouraged by the whole chapter so I had to share it here. Don’t forget you can find the full PDF on Desiringgod.org and hey- like most if not all their books, its free !
” GOD LIKES USING WINES and vines in his miracles and parables. I thought of that a number of years ago when I read the following in an article: Great wines come from low-yielding vineyards planted in marginal climates on the poorest soils. Though hard on the vines, these tough conditions are good for the wine, because the vines that are stressed must work harder to produce fruit, which leads to fewer but more concentrated and flavorful grapes. By contrast, the vines used for bulk wines have it easy. They are planted in the fertile soils in ideal climates of regions such as California’s Central Valley. Such regions are great for producing tons of grapes to fill up the bulk fermentation tanks, but not at all great for producing the complex, intense flavors needed to make great wine, because the vines are not stressed and the yields are way too high.
*Ben Giliberti, “It’s Not the Box, It’s the Bulk,” Washington Post, July 20, 2005, accessed September 26, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/19/AR2005071900312.html.
Stressed vines produce good wines. This phenomenon of nature is also a parable for how God produces rich, complex, intense faith in his children. Because when it comes to faith, God loves good wine. All you have to do is read Hebrews 11 to see that the great wine of faith often “comes from . . . vineyards planted in marginal climates on the poorest soils.” And James 1:2 tells us plainly that “tough conditions (“various trials”) are good for the wine” of faith. That’s because faith-vines “must work harder to produce fruit” leading to “more concentrated and flavorful” wines. Now, as a faith vine striving to grow in a hard place, you might be tempted to wish you were a bulk-wine vine basking in the spiritual equivalent of California’s Central Valley. O, for that rich soil, bright sunshine, warm ocean air. Sigh. But here you are, stuck on some coldish, semi-arid hillside where the struggle is frequent and sometimes severe. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s not a mistake. It’s not a punishment. It’s not mean. It’s simply that tough conditions produce the best faith. Your vinedresser (John 15:1) has planted you in a unique vineyard with uniquely stressful conditions because he intends for you to produce a uniquely fine, flavorful faith wine. And he will tend to your every real need (Phil. 4:19). If you need some perspective today, review Hebrews 11 and the great faith-vine heroes of history. Remember what their vineyards were like and the rich faith wines that resulted. And then remember Jesus (Heb. 12:2) and the joy set before every vine that endures in faith. When God makes wine, he makes really good wine (John 2:7–10). And when it comes to your faith, he knows that really good wine is made in the vineyard.
Jon Bloom, Don’t Follow your Heart, chapter 6