And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. (Luke 5:37 NASB)
There are almost as many techniques for winemaking as there are winemakers. There is one thing that is common to all winemakers, however. Quality fruit is essential to have a quality endpoint. The single most important factor in the production of quality wine is the fruit with which you begin. None of the intervening steps make as much difference as the beginning fruit. The manner of crushing, type of yeast, or timing of racking can vary. The fruit quality cannot.
Here's the amazing thing. Every person is created in the image of God. Every person begins as the equivalent of "quality fruit". Every person begins their life with full potential for transformation into someone vital and refreshing in the Kingdom of God. It has been said before, but it bears repeating. There is no one so far from God, so lost in sin, that they are beyond His grace. Life choices and life experiences can have a dramatic and long-lasting, often devastating effect, but it can be overcome by the mercy and grace of God.
As we pray for our loved ones, remember that, no matter their life choices, they still retain that "image of God" with which they began. The very part of them that brings the greatest quality and value remains. In the transformation that only God can bring, the journey will still start with "quality fruit". Do not lose heart.
Pray today that our loved ones will respond to the call of God with eager anticipation for the journey of transformation and that change we can see will be soon.