Changed in an Instant

This morning I woke up early. I got out of bed, poured myself a cup of coffee, and sat in my prayer chair in the living room. The landscape grew gradually lighter as I watched through the front window. It snowed yesterday, so the ground outside was covered in a pristine blanket of white fluff. In the center of the picture window stands a fruitless mulberry tree. It’s an attractive tree with a wide canopy and big, broad leaves. At this time of year the leaves are an orangeish-brown color, the color of fall. And this morning I saw that my mulberry tree still clung to almost all her leaves. The trees in my neighborhood have been shedding their leaves for a few weeks; most of them are completely naked at this point. But my mulberry tree has been hanging on to her leaves. She looked rather glorious, standing tall in the midst of all that snow, wrapped in her colorful fall coat. I enjoyed looking at her as I finished my coffee, then got dressed and left for church.

When I returned home, I noticed a change as I turned the corner toward my house. My mulberry tree had lost all her leaves -- in two hours! She does this every year. It’s as though she holds on as long as she can, whether in resistance of the coming change or in ignorance of it, I don’t know. But then suddenly, within a matter of hours, she embraces the change. She lets go, and all her leaves flutter to the ground, dozens at a time, until she has no more to hold.

I stopped my car in front of my house and looked at her, standing naked in my yard. She looked … beautiful. Different, but still glorious. I could see every twig, the curve of every branch. I could see her real shape, unhidden. And I was reminded of a Bible verse.

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

When Jesus returns, we’ll be changed, too. Like my mulberry tree, when the time to change comes, it will be quick – in an instant. And it will be dramatic. We’ll stand before our Lord, unhidden, in all the glory of the new shape He will give us.

I can hardly wait!