“ And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14
I never saw myself that night I got shot; that night I got shot in the face. I felt the warm blood flowing in a steady, profuse stream from my face; I smelt its cloying, fresh scent. But, I never saw the red hue that must have covered my face, my clothes or the car.
The shade of red of my blood will never come back to haunt me. I remember how quiet I was while being transported to the hospital. I remember hobbling out into the emergency room. I remember seeing many hospital staff members. But, I do not remember seeing my blood.
One day after the incident, as I navigated the corner, heading towards Plaisance Park, in South Trinidad, on a road which winds through the Petrotrin Oil Refinery in Pointe-a-Pierre, a vivid red display caught my attention at Beaumont Hill. Could this have been the shade of red of my blood?
I was fascinated now by a sight I may have espied many times in my life. However, my outlook on that day was different. Could this have been how the blood spread, in a circular manner on my clothes and me? Did my appearance draw as much attention as this magnificent display of scarlet flowers now draws?
There it stood, bordering the estate of our local oil refinery, in full splendor: a flamboyant tree. Just like a traffic signal, its red display commanded me to stop: stop and drink in this majestic, natural beauty.
Her majesty must be at least fifty years old, more likely older. She stood, and still stands, stately, in all her finery, a beauty for all who take the time to view her. She has spread her arms wide open, offering comfort and shade from sun and rain.
She is no respecter of person or species: anyone is welcomed under her canopy which forms a frame like an umbrella. She is a respecter of time: she remains standing there day after day, month after month, year after year… providing for all who seek her, for all who sacrifice their time or agenda to experience her resplendence. She puts on her full array of adornment only at a specific time: in her season of bloom her radiance is captivating.
She is known by several names. In Trinidad and Tobago we call her the Flambouyant Tree. Others call her the Royal Poinciana or the Flame Tree. Her botanical name is reflective of her magnificence: Delomix regia (literally translated as conspicuous claws because of the colour and shape of the flowers).
This image was found posted here: http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000QIPVFWirWzs/s/860/860/aeamador00356faeAmador.jpg
She is a creation of our Maker, with characteristics lovingly bestowed on her to demonstrate His greatness to all who lay eyes on her. She has had a long life but ultimately her existence is finite, just as we all are.
Our Maker is infinite. He is the great I am, existing before us all and after us all. His love has been with us from the beginning, year after year, for every season of our lives. His love has endured the passages of time, embracing us with His warmth in our cold and lonely times.
When the scorching midday, tropical sun threatens, the Flambouyant’s shade is accessible to anyone: to the homeless, to a child, to the wealthy… Similarly God’s love protects us from the flames of sin and that protection is available to anyone. We just have to seek His love diligently. This we can do by praying constantly; by prayerful reflection and thanksgiving; by reading His Word; and by loving and obeying Him.
In His time, His love will be manifested in us by His abundant blessings. It is important to emphasize two points here: His time; and abundant blessings.
We talk about blessings in His time for we do not know things as He knows; anytime is right for us, now is great for us, but He has a specific time that only He knows.
As for abundant blessings, while this includes financial blessings, it is sad to say that many interpret abundant to mean strictly financial. In so doing they could overlook the overflowing vessels filled with happiness, contentment, peace, love, righteousness and eternal life that may already be theirs.
If the Flambouyant’s majesty is so enchanting, what can be said about God’s majesty? Our limited knowledge does not permit comprehension of the full greatness of God.
What we can comprehend are His mighty acts and abundant goodness through time. We can be assured of His faithfulness to His promises as He has stood in glorious splendor since the time of Adam and provided more proof with the cleansing of our sins by the blood of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
In our times of trials and tribulations, we can seek shelter with God. His Word and His deeds assure us of His love for us, though we are unworthy. We need only to have faith and to give praise and thanks to Him at every possible opportunity and to believe in His Son, so that we may be washed clean in His blood.
The blood of His Son was shed
To save us from sin’s stronghold
The flowers and the blood both red
Remind us of majesty beyond this world.