08 Sep The Almond Tree
It’s a bright, warm Friday afternoon – the kind that ushers in the weekend most beautifully.
I’ve left the office early – it’s barely 1pm but I’m heading right to the beauty salon. I have this luxurious new weave in my hair, and it’s calling gently for some TLC.
It cost an arm and a leg, this weave. It was done at a trendy up-market salon, where their famous client list includes media celebs and several other important personages, they said. So I figured it was worth it.
Not so, my favourite half.
“Wa! Did it come with a title deed?!” he said incredulously, when he discovered how much.
Anyway, I have to do this hair today, or I’ll have an oily mop next week.
I’m thinking about this now, when a picture flits quietly through my mind.
It’s a picture of my friend – a very close friend, whom I haven’t seen for some weeks. I wonder briefly how she’s doing – I’m newly born-again and I know that, though she has a fear for the things of God, she’s been quite the party girl lately.
“You need to go and see her,” I hear, deep in my spirit. That still, small voice. “NOW.”
What about my weave?! I don’t want to have an oily mop next week, Lord.
The kind you get when your parent issues a decree, and will brook no argument.
I try all kinds of negotiation, but no.
So I turn my car in the direction of her apartment and head there. And as I drive, the Lord lets me know what I’m to say to her.
I find her at home and she ushers me in, with her characteristically boisterous welcome. She’s a vivacious, warm-hearted gal, *Kathleen, and eats life with a spoon the size of a mountain. She simply loves everyone and has the rare gift of making life-long friends in an instant.
Kathleen has really been more like a sister to me, particularly in the years since I got married. For one, she gorged faithfully with me on matoke, day in, day out, when I was expecting my first baby. I still remember that dish – nice succulent, bananas, fried in juicy ripe tomatoes and just the right amount of organic spice. I don’t know if they grow bananas in Machakos, but my house-help at the time was from there, and could whip up this most delicious dish from a simple bunch of green bananas.
We grew fat on those bananas, me and Kathleen. She was a true friend. Stuck with me through thick, thicker and thickest.
And then came to hospital with me and shed an emotional tear or two, when my baby was born.
Anyway, enough meandering..
Kathleen and I now settle in her living-room and share a few laughs over coffee, a shared addiction.
But I soon have to deliver the word that the Lord has sent.
“Kathleen,” I say gently, “the Lord says that you will soon be born again.”
“What?! Me? No Mugzy. Not me,” she laughs.
We chat some more about this and that, but I soon sense a prod to say those words again.
So I do.
“You will soon be born again, Kathleen.”
She laughs again, but I catch a glimpse of something in her eye. Perhaps a tear. Perhaps a longing, deep inside, for something she cannot fully explain.
She lights up a cigarette, takes a long drag and exhales.
“Not me, Mugzy. Not me.”
But I hear it, that catch in her voice.
We move on and are soon laughing our lungs out. It’s always a joy to be with Kathleen – such a warm, loving soul. A true gem.
When the time comes, I take my leave, but I know we’ll soon be in touch again.
The following week, the Lord graciously allows me some time to take care of my mop at the salon. But I don’t see any celebs. Perhaps I should demand that title deed, in lieu of those celebs. Hand it over to Esquire himself for safekeeping, until the day I spot one.
But then one evening, later that week, something curious happens, on my way home from work. As I steer round the corner, my house just a few meters away, that still small voice interrupts my thoughts once again.
“Kathleen will be saved before next September,” I hear.
This piece of news catches me completely off guard. But it’s just about October, so I figure there’s ample time for the Lord to orchestrate this feat.
“Say it out loud,” I hear.
I’m alone in my car, but I feel a little embarrassed as I do it.
“Kathleen will be saved before next September,” I manage feebly.
“Kathleen will be saved before next September,” I say a little louder.
The Lord has me declare these words three times. Being a new Believer, I don’t quite understand why, but I do it anyway.
And within a few days, the now-familiar instruction comes again.
“Go and see Kathleen and declare those words in her presence.”
So I do.
But this time, Brethren, when I deliver the Lord’s word, neither of us laughs. Somehow, deep within our spirits, we have began to sense the seriousness of this matter.
The Lord is in earnest pursuit of His beloved daughter.
And almost exactly five months later, Brethren, a few weeks into February, Kathleen passes excitedly by my house, one sunny afternoon.
“Guess what Mugzy,” she exclaims, “I’ve done it! I’m born again. I’m saved.”
What can I say?
A prophetic word, it is said, is like the beautiful Almond tree. You will recognize it in an orchard, for it blossoms long before the set time. And when you see it burst forth in flower, Brethren, know that a fresh new season is near.
Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”
And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.” Jeremiah 1:11-12
*Kathleen’s name has been changed.