Standing in the middle of a congested metropolitan city block, I notice people walking quickly, taking long strides, determined to get someplace fast. Cars, buses, bicycles, and taxis all are transporting people to unknown destinations. Commotion is everywhere. The blaring sound of car horns screaming their obscenities to other drivers is intense. A constant honking to wake up motorists unaware of the immediate opportunity to change lanes causes me to express annoyance, at least to myself. Long lines of vehicles jammed together form an unsightly serpentine appearance.
My soul is agitated by the noise and turbulent motion. I look up towards the heavens. Our brilliant sun is surrounded by a clear, cloudless, sapphire blue sky. Lovely rays of warmth are streaming down from this earth’s sun. It isn’t disturbed by the disorder I sense.
Wanting to be absorbed into a still, calm, peaceful environment, I call out to my Papa God. “Take me away into the sanctuary of Your Presence.”
As I express my need to Papa God, an angel places me on the outside of a beautiful garden which encompasses an entire city block. The garden is surrounded by a high, decorative wrought iron fence. I can see and still hear the commotion of the traffic encircling me but the beauty of what I see beyond the fence is surreal. The hush of the exquisite beauty silences all distractions, and I am drawn into the peace within the garden. Colorful carpets of yellow, orange, gold, lavender, pink and white flowers line its border. Hues of emerald, kelly, and apple green in the grasses, shrubs, and plants bring comfort and relief to my weary eyes. This astonishing garden is an oasis and a safe haven allowing me to step away from the rush of the fast pace, and into the serenity of Papa’s creation.
Surprisingly I see in the center of the garden a pear tree, loaded with huge perfect pears. The pears are so numerous that the branches holding them are weighted down, almost to the ground. As I study this magnificent tree I can feel the salivatory glands in my mouth begin to work overtime. All I can think of is how much I desire some of that fruit. I know it is going to be so sweet, so satisfying. The longing to taste the fruit is almost more than I can bear. Desperation comes over me and I find myself saying “I need to plan a way to get past the fence, to the interior of the garden, and to the tree.”
The angel, who brought me here, has an expression of amusement on his face that makes me wonder what will happen.
There are people walking the circumference of the garden. No one seems to realize there is a tree in the center of this cultivated piece of land. The individuals appear to be preoccupied with the daily routine of their lives, not aware of the serenity the garden offers. I stop a passer-by and ask him, “sir, how do I get inside the garden and get some of that fruit?” He turns his head to see the tree as if for the first time. He replies “Oh! A tree! Well, rent a ladder and climb over the fence.”
“Thank you,” I say and proceed to find a place that rents ladders. I drag a twelve-foot ladder to the fence and set it up to climb over the high fence. My mind is surveying the situation. How will I be able to get down on the other side? The fence must be at least fourteen feet high. The urge to have a taste of succulent pears is becoming more intense. I can hardly cope with the insatiable craving I have for the fruit of this particular tree.
Another walker approaches me. “Excuse me. How do I get into that garden so I can have some pears?” I ask him. He catches sight of the tree with surprise and advises me. “Get a tree digger and uproot the tree. Then you will have to rent a hauling truck and have the tree pulled over to the edge of the garden.”
After some time of checking various tree removal service companies, I find one that will help me with my dilemma. I explain to them that my request is quite extreme, but I am willing to pay the price just to get at the fruit of the tree.
I know this is my tree which has been wooing me to taste its fruit since I first discovered it in the garden.
Arriving at the garden, the company sets their equipment on stilts enabling it to be used over the fence. To my surprise the men are successful in uprooting the tree. The tree lays on its side. Pears begin to fall off the branches. This tree is immense! The roots are enormous. The men from the tree service are shocked seeing the extraordinary size of the roots.
I thank the men and then call a hauling truck company asking if they are able to move the tree against the fence. Soon, I say to myself, I will have the fruit which my spirit desires. As the tree is being dragged over towards me some of the massive branches stick through the fence.
Yes! The fruit of my tree! I have worked diligently, with determination, planning ways to bring the tree to me. I proved I could receive the fruit. My efforts have paid off I tell myself. I reach for a pear and begin to eat it. The pear I taste is good, but sadly it does not satisfy me. The longing I had l to sit under the tree’s canopy and eat to my heart’s content quickly becomes disappointment because I had the tree uprooted and moved. A feeling of failure is overtaking me.
The angel, who has been with me and has carefully watched all that I did with this tree, appears next to me and says, “Take one more look. Your Father loves you and knows what you long for.” I look, as he instructed me, and see the tree is back in the middle of the garden, straight and statuesque as I had first seen it, loaded with beautiful huge pears. There are no trucks, no diggers, no equipment blocking the beauty of my tree. The entire tree is now illuminated by an indescribable light. How glorious it is!
I feel the angel take my hand and walk me along the fence line, around the garden. A sweet fragrance fills the air as we walk together, admiring my tree. “Your Creator, your Father God delights in you,” he whispers. “And I love that Jesus made a way for me to be with Him now and forever,” I reply.
We walk a few more steps around the garden. He lightly touches my cheek to turn my glance towards the fence. There before me is an unlocked gate, beckoning me to come in! “I have been so busy attempting to get over the fence I never saw the gate,” I cry. He smiles a heartwarming smile and gestures for me to approach the gate. As I do, without my help, the gate opens to its fullest capacity. I run straight to the tree.
My heart begins to dance with anticipation knowing the tree contains what I have been longing for. Graciously, ever so sweetly, the tree bends down, allowing me to effortlessly eat of its fruit. I don’t even pick a pear off the tree but rather lean into it. As I touch the pear, it ripens from the inside out and I begin to eat. Delectable juice from the fruit is running down my face. I don’t care. It is the richest, most nourishing fruit I have ever eaten! One pear would satisfy me, but the tree has embraced me, my spirit is rejoicing, and I continue to receive more of the continuous gift it offers.
My emotions surface and I find myself weeping. A fragrant floral aroma displaces the unclean city air. I take deep breaths, filling my lungs with the pure, unpolluted air which is within this garden. I am overwhelmed by Love. Looking around, I notice others reacting to the heavenly fragrance also.
“Savor your special time here. Eat as much as you like while I tell you what you have been through,” the angel says. “Yes, please,” I respond. “I feel silly having exerted such physical and mental energy to approach the tree.”
“You are tasting and seeing that your Father God is good. As you share your experience (and you will), it will become a parable to those hearing. You tried the plans of man. You were striving. You wanted to prove you are worthy of the fruit. Man’s plan and efforts do not bring you to your Father God with the satisfaction of His pure, unconditional love. No matter how each man, woman or child feels about him or herself, your Father’s arms are outstretched for all to come to Him. He tells them they are worthy, honored and loved.”
My face is covered with sweet juice. “Papa God brought me to the sanctuary of His Presence as I called out to Him. You were here with me the entire time. You are the one who led me to the open Gate which is Jesus Christ.”
The angel gently replies “Holy Spirit led you. Now go, share and tell others to do the same. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. There are countless numbers of people walking past the tree waiting to hear the parable you just lived. Let them know Jesus, the Tree of Life, never fails to bear fruit. He is true fulfillment.”
I gather as many pears as I can hold and run outside the gate. Passing out pears to anyone who will accept them, I encourage my new friends to come in, discover the magnificent tree as I did, and eat of its fruit. It is evident these friends are experiencing refreshment as they approach the tree. Soon more curious ones join and the gathering becomes very large. A calm sense of wonder supersedes the disorder that is outside the garden. People sit on the lush grass, looking at me with expectation, waiting to hear what I have to say.
Holy Spirit speaks through me as I begin to share my experience of the splendor and glory of the Tree of Life that belongs to all. Hearts are opening to Father God’s unconditional love. Jesus Christ, the Tree of Life is drawing them into an everlasting, abundant life which is theirs through Him. I see joy and peace on every face as Jesus tenderly calls each one His Beloved.
Songs of angels rejoicing permeate the atmosphere. I feel the angel squeeze my shoulder, sharing the joy of what has transpired today. He ecstatically declares “The Family of God is growing!” There is a visible splendor of countless angels and the cloud of witnesses who have been waiting for this moment. They react to his words with exuberant celebration and glorious exaltation of the King of Kings! “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
I listen with thankfulness in my heart. Indeed, the whole earth is full of His Glory!
“For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“And they were calling to one another: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah 6:3