Calling: A Message at Midnight
Last night I looked out the window. It was gone midnight, so I was expecting everything to be swamped in darkness as usual. But it wasn’t. Beyond the darkness of our garden was a tree, burning a fierce orange and illuminated against the black surroundings.
The first thing I thought of when I saw it was the Burning Bush where the Lord called Moses.
Obviously, I quickly came to my senses and realised that there was in fact no actual flames in the tree. The orange, red and yellow autumn leaves on the tree’s branches were being lit up by an outside light. It still seemed strange to me though, that a light should be on at that hour.
What was more striking to me though was that it was only this particular tree that was lit up. I couldn’t help feeling that it was reflecting exactly what I meant in something I said in my last post:
‘In our repetitive lives, God grabs our attention by showing us unusual or unexpected things.’
This was certainly unexpected. I couldn’t take my eyes off it – it was beautiful… and yet unsettling. I wanted to know what I was being told. I wanted to find out why I was sitting staring intently at this tree. “Here I am,” I said to God. “Speak for you servant is listening”.
And it was only then that I realised I was looking too closely. I was looking at the individual leaves, not the bigger picture it was forming. I took of my glasses (being short-sighted, without them I can see things, but not in fine detail) and the leaves were forming four distinct clusters. At once I saw that three of them were in the shape of hearts. God the Holy trinity loves us, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All of these three things were joined in one tree – in one being.
But what was the other shape? I put my glasses back on and focused just on this one part on the edge of the tree. It quickly became clear that it was a face. The dark gaps between the leaves formed the eyes, nose and mouth. It was a fierce face, and the bright leaves around it made it look like it had a lion’s mane. I was sure it wasn’t meant to just be a lion though as the human features were very clear.
It reminded me of the tale of David and Goliath. In this tale David is the youngest son of Jesse. Everyone thinks that he is too young to fight Goliath, a giant of a man, and doubt his strength as he is only ‘little more than a boy’. However, David is determined, and eventually manages to convince Saul that he has killed a lion which threatened his sheep before. More importantly though, is that he says God will also be on his side. He is so confident in God’s strength that he refuses to wear the uncomfortable armour Saul offers, but remains in his shepherd’s clothes. David then indeed kills Goliath with a stone which hits the towering man between his eyes.
‘David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied… All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”’ (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
For me this shape in the leaves had the face of ‘bronze’ Goliath, and the mane of the lion like the one David killed. For me though, more than what these shapes were forming, it was the message I was being told that I truly wanted to understand. And then I saw, at the top of the tree, two bright lights. Presumably they were leaves, but they looked more like small, piercing stars. They were the brightest two leaves on the whole tree. They reminded me of two eyes and it was on them that I focused as I prayed. Unlike the dark shadows of Goliath’s eyes, they were white and pure. As I looked at them the hearts underneath fitted as one into the wings a butterfly… or a bird… or someone with wings…
Whatever it was, it looked like peace – and it was wonderful.
I will never see this sight again. When I woke up this morning lots of the leaves had fallen off the tree. It just looked like an ordinary autumn tree which I would never have paid any attention to. Even now, I don’t think there is anything special about this tree in particular. It was what it showed to me last night that was important.
Finally I think I discovered the message I was being told in this beautiful sight last night. Although I may be young and there are going to be many things thrown at me whilst I follow God’s calling, if I stay strong in Him, like David, I can be confident in what it is I have to do. When things seem hard or I feel that there are many obstacles against me on my journey in faith, I will remember this symbol and be confident in God’s love – my Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and all shall be well.