I’m experiencing a new emotion these days as I stroll the vineyard. Fear. In actuality the vines may be doing just fine but I’m afraid they’re not. Hundreds of tiny clusters of what will become fruit after they bloom are appearing on the vines. This should foretell a rich harvest but I’m afraid it won’t be realized. Instead of visioning what may be, I’m afraid of what won’t be. It stinks. I find myself seeing every tiny flaw on every leaf. Instead of ‘Oh yeah!’ I more often think, ‘Oh no!’. Disappointment is haunting all my dreams. I ran into some hiccups last year. New plantings never grew and the fruit of the older vines, though abundant, never matured. I had some issues with my soil and the year was a great disappointment. My hopes never materialized. I’ve worked hard to address the problem and, as evidence of renewed hope, have replanted what didn’t grow last year even adding a new row. Now I find myself playing the old mind game, ‘what if’. Disappointment is hard that way. It’s the great dream haunter. Two of Jesus’ friends found it so hauntingly difficult that they didn’t even recognize him when he was right there walking the road with them. They had hopes; dreams that Jesus would be the one to redeem Israel. Their dreams were nailed to a cross and in bitter disappointment they turned inward and couldn’t see what was going on around them. That’s where Jesus met them and walked with them, and listened to them, and spoke the Word of hope into their situation. And their hearts were warmed with hope again!