Some days ago, I went home to visit my parents. They still lived in the small town where I’d grown up—the same small town where I’d lived out many of my memorable teenage years. The house had the same feel I used to long for every time I was away at school. It was the feeling of home—a place I could finally be at rest. In a bid to recall the past, I decided to take a grand tour around the estate just to see how much had changed over the years.
Starting at the hall of fame in the anteroom, which held graduation pictures, memoirs, plaques and trophies, I smiled as I lingered on the memory of each event, remembering the nights I had worked tirelessly at my game to ensure I earned my spot in my dad’s hall of fame. The room brought back memories of hope, courage, and success. Moving along, I walked out of the anteroom into the courtyard, basking in the ambience of the quietness that characterized the familiar scene. It reminded me of the mornings I spent there alone, talking with God—asking him for direction on the course of my life and listening to his reassuring words. I thought about the hours invested in just listening, listening to the voice inside of me. It was at this very spot that I learned to discern between the music within my soul and the one being played all around me. I had missed the quietness that often refreshed me and gave me enough strength for the day. I opted to spend a few moments in the quietness, reading my purse Bible. I can’t say for sure how long I was there, but when I stepped out I was really refreshed.
I walked back into the house and entered the kitchen. Thoughts of those special holidays my sisters and I spent making meals together floated through my mind. Some of our meals turned out delicious while others were disastrous. It was right there in my mother’s kitchen that we shared our secrets, unloaded our burdens, and revealed our innermost desires. You could almost tell what had happened during the year by the outcome of our meals. The thought of a particular event made me laugh. I headed for my room. The familiar mahogany door beckoned me in. I could almost hear the songs I’d spent most nights singing, rehearsing for Sunday morning church service. The window blinds that shielded the rays from the sun brought back memories of the days I had quarreled with my baby sister—she loved it when the blinds were drawn together; I thrived on seeing the sun. We never reached a compromise.
Stopping at my reading table, I scanned the books that were now covered with dust. It was at this spot that I found the very essence of my life; at this table, I found the voice of my soul. Things didn’t look the same to me; some things had really changed. The house was now quieter, the rooms had been rearranged, and some furniture had been moved out. I could see the changes everywhere—in the living room, dining area, the garage. The changes stared at me everywhere I turned, much like the ones I was experiencing in my life. In the midst of it all, I remembered my father’s garden. At this time of the year, most of the trees would be fruiting. I longed for the moments I spent with my siblings hunting for fruits, but I knew those days were long gone, never to return again.
The longing drew me out of the house and into the garden. I was disappointed to see that it had not survived the change. Aloe vera plants had been replaced with pepper, pawpaw trees with bananas, and new pineapples were sprouting. Just as I turned to leave, I spotted a tree at the far end of the garden. It looked familiar—the same. The old oak tree had remained and had survived the change. There it stood—tall, transfixed, sturdy, buoyant, a nesting ground for the birds. In that moment, the following words floated through my mind: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away.” I finally got the message—for as long as I lived in this body, change was going to be inevitable; but if everything else gave way, I could have confidence in the fact that God’s word would remain true. So, whether the storms rage or the winds blow, as long as my anchor is in His word, I’ll stand strong.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11