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From a Withered Tree to a Tree of Life

Recently, C-Mo and I have placed two symbolic paintings on the wall near the entrance of the Creative Media Center (CMC). I bought the first one some twenty years ago when we were on a trip in the State. Its focus is a withered tree on snowy ground and a pen which has neither cattle nor sheep. It carries a strong barren feel which depicts my life pastoring church in Vancouver. The verse in the painting really catches my eye, “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” (Ps 113:3) I was going through a hard time then, yet I was to praise the name of the Lord. Hence I bought the painting.

Coming back to Hong Kong, we set up ‘611′. As we keep following God, the Holy Spirit continues to lead us, the church grows and changes continuously. Until July this year, God further unlocked Psalm 113 to me and gave me the revelations of ‘Prince in the dust’ and ‘Happy mother of many’. Then we were able to illustrate the roles of a prince and a father in a drama. Looking back on this painting of a withered tree, I am wonderfully amazed that God has planned this long ago and I am aware of God’s providential guide.

Another painting is totally different – it is about Tree of Life, with River of Life by it and there is much life growing by the two sides of the river. That painting is colourful and full of vigour. That reminds me of Isaiah 61:3, ‘They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor’. Oaks of righteousness are Trees of Life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. That painting marks that the church has entered into Tree of Life phase recently. It means the church is full of the fragrance of the Tree of Life which brings healing to people.

Last week, when we paid a visit to my disciple Principal Wai Keung, we saw a golden lampstand. Suddenly, a thought dawned on me, “Golden lampstand signifies Tree of Life as well as Israel and the Church”. Golden lampstand tells of God’s heart to shape the Church and illuminate the whole world.

Why do we hang these two paintings in the CMC? It is because CMC is to send our messages to the ends of the world: I was a withered tree, my life was withered and parched. When I was pastoring a church in Vancouver, I did it by tradition and not with anointing. Therefore, I bore no fruits. However, I did not give up. Instead, I have steadfastly followed God. Then the Holy Spirit continues to lead us so that the church can grow to be a Tree of Life, lighting up the world as a golden lampstand.

We have been reading on the book of Numbers these few days. The first and second chapters remind us that when we are in a deadlock like in the wilderness, it is most crucial for us to align with God and His Presence! Dear brothers and sisters, due to the pandemic, the days are really hard. For us, we are to remember how low we were and remind ourselves that we had nothing in the beginning. But as long as we align with God, He shall surely care for us and take us into the Promised Land.•[2020.08.30]

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