During my meditation time, I light a candle. One day the wick wouldn’t light. When the match burned my finger, I dropped it into the candle where it burned up, black and crisp. However, the tip flamed for the entire half hour. For about two weeks now, whenever I’ve lit that match, it burns, but the match isn’t consumed! Is this my personal burning bush or menorah that burned without oil in the Temple? Once before a strange thing happened, but it was eventually explained. From rocks I bought back from the Holy Land, water seeped out, making a puddle on my bookshelf. Frightened, I put them outside my room for the night! But then Sister Jeanmarie, a chemistry professor, explained that the rocks from the Dead Sea were loaded with chemicals that interacted with the atmosphere. Mystery solved. Does anyone know why my dead match still ignites?
Anyhow, this match has provided food for thought. For one thing, it tells me not to give up hope but to persevere. When our dreams seem to be at a dead end, there can still be possibilities. Right now I’m searching for a publisher for my latest book. I mustn’t give up! Second, the match lets me know that I have hidden reserves. When a task lies before me that seems impossible, I can draw on courage, power, and gifts that surprise me. (Who’d ever think that I, who seldom spoke in class, would be speaking before audiences?) Third, as I approach old age, when I expect I’ll be tired, used up, and maybe sick, there is still the possibility that I will burn with passion for Christ and his ministry that I share in. A number of people who are in their 80s and even 90s continue to contribute to the world like the energizer bunny. During the Christmas season, the burning match was also a metaphor for our human condition. After we were justly evicted from our heavenly home and everything seemed hopeless, we were given another chance for immortality and eternal bless. Christ the light appeared and saved us.
The magic match is one of many tantalizing mysteries. This month’s National Geographic includes an article concerning the mystery of our fathomless universe: its beginning, black holes, black energy, and such. Contemplating the known statistics of the cosmos gives me vertigo! The magazine also has articles on the mystery of the first people in America (where did they come from?) and the mystery of how we learn to speak. One of the joys of heaven that I look forward to will be having all these mysteries unraveled. Of course, we’ll never fully comprehend the grandest mystery of all—the eternal, magnificent, and holy Creator, although we try!
What messages might my strange match hold for you? When have you achieved something that you thought you’d never do?