I had just viewed my father’s physical body for the last time at the funeral home. I sat quietly as I waited for my family to say their goodbyes. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe and I needed to get out of the room; I bolted out the door.
Only a few days earlier, I had gotten the dreaded phone call and rushed over to my parents’ house. After several years of declining health, Dad had passed away peacefully in his sleep. The lyrics of Victory in Jesus played in my brain. I even sang softly as I stepped into the bedroom where his body lay. I knew, because Dad had professed Jesus as his Lord and Savior, that he was in the presence of Jesus; he had victory in Jesus.
Yet as the hours ticked by, no matter how much I sang or what I knew to be true, I could not resolve the confusion that clouded my mind.
That confusion hung heavy as I stepped outside into the October sunshine.
I glanced back at the door as it closed, realizing the stark difference a couple of footsteps made. Inside, the room was cold and somber, with a palpable heaviness that screamed of death, loss and sorrow. Outside, the cloudless sky was a beautiful blue; the sunshine was bright and warm on my face and radiated glorious life and hope.
I glanced at the ground. A solitary, large brown leaf lay at my feet.
I remembered something I had written in my quiet time several months earlier:
Like an old dying leaf clinging to a tree, which has gone dormant for the winter, I have been in a hard season. Weary from the tiring and unending relentless storms, it only takes a light breeze to break lose the leaf’s desperately-clinging grasp. Fluttering downward, it lands not on barren land, but in a gentle flowing stream where it is carried in a new direction. Though it no longer hangs gracefully on a deeply rooted tree and appears to have fulfilled its purpose, it is not dead. In fact, as it flows upon the Living Waters, it has never been more alive.
I picked up the leaf and walked to the side of the building to find the maple tree that had dropped the leaf. There was no tree in sight, but I did see another leaf and walked across the grass to pick it up. As I walked back, the door opened and the mortician stepped outside.
I held up the leaf and asked, “Where is the maple tree? I have never seen such a large leaf!”
He shook his head. “That’s not a maple leaf. It’s a sycamore…”
I’m not sure what he said after that, because I stopped in my tracks.
A sycamore? Obviously, I had never had a close encounter with a Sycamore tree since I had failed to recognize the leaf I held in my hand.
Tears ran down my face.
The sycamore is significant to me.
I know it is my calling to write and several years ago, when I pondered the name for this blog, I chose the sycamore because that is the tree the Bible records Zacchaeus climbed to see Jesus. In everything that I write, it is my greatest hope that readers will see Jesus at work in my life.
At one of the hardest moments of my life, the Lord dropped a sycamore leaf at my feet.
Instantly, a sweet peace ushered away the heavy confusion. I brushed away my tears. The air stirred and a gentle breeze caressed my face.
I glanced heavenward and knew for certain that my father was never more alive: he sees Jesus!
As I looked at the leaves in my hand, I sensed the Lord whisper to my heart, “And I see you.”
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17