Friday, November 12, 2010

He'll Show Up

If there be anyone who's going through,
We have an answer to the problem for you;
Trust and obey and never give in,
Only the strong shall survive and win.
Just ask the question and the answer shall come,
Just exercise your faith and know He's The One.

If there is no sign,
Keep this in mind,
He'll show up on time.



Note: After reading some of the comments, I thought it best to add this to my post. What you're about to read happened many years ago in my life. It was one of the most difficult days in my life and although it remains a vivid memory for me, it is no longer painful. Looking back on that day, I realize just how gracious God was to me, giving me strength because I had none.


I listened intently as the man directed me where I needed to go:

Go to the end of this corridor, turn left and follow it until you get to the stairway. Go down the stairway and then go through the door. Once inside, you’ll see a steel door with a window. Ring the buzzer next to the window and someone will come to the door to help you.

I’m not even sure now that I was even listening; all I know is he lost me after,Go to the end of this corridor”.

The corridor was dimly lit, everything about this place reeked with gloom. As I opened the door, I could feel its weight, resist me pulling the doorknob. It felt like someone was on the other side, trying to prevent me from entering; but I managed to open it. I heard the loud thud as the door closed behind me. I walked into a poorly lit corridor with faded yellow brick walls; the concrete floor didn’t attempt to hide its barren look. There was nothing about this place that welcomed visitors. I really didn’t want to be here but I had no choice; there were no volunteers when we were told that someone needed to come and identify the body of my brother. Emotionally, everyone was on life support. I’d seen dead bodies before but they were always someone else’s relative; their life never mattered to me. It was different this time.

It was so eerily quiet until I rang the buzzer to interrupt the silence. Every moment seemed to slice into infinity, stretching out the time, until I pressed my finger against the buzzer again. Finally, a Black man arrived, looking through the window at me and opening the door.

What’s the name?

The question was cold and lacking any emotion. I looked at the empty expression on his bearded face, his brown eyes staring at me as if to ask, what do you want?

My answer was hesitant. I didn’t forget where I was, but I wasn’t certain what to say.

I’m here for my brother.

It was as if I expected him to go tell my brother, "Someone wants to see you."

My thoughts were tattered, up to this point I didn’t feel any emotions, but I would soon discover what was hidden just below the surface of my life. I gave him my brother’s name and the loud metal door clanged shut while he disappeared behind it.

It was only minutes but it seemed much more like an hour as he returned pushing a steel table, a white cloth covered the outlined shape of a body. He motioned for me to walk to the left and I stopped by a window. At that moment, I wondered, why am I standing here? I wanted to get out of there but my feet wouldn’t move. Did I expect to see my brother walk up to me and smile? He slid the window back and asked me,

Are you ready?

I nodded, not conscious of the bobbing motion of my head, consenting for him to proceed. He pulled the cloth back and there was my brother; lying quietly as though he was sleeping. I wanted to call his name as if I could somehow wake him from this slumber; but his eyelids were frozen. I looked at his body and saw the entry wounds from the gunshots and the facial scars from being beaten. I stood there in the silence of this naked corridor, staring at his lifeless body; time for me seemed to stop.

Random moments of our lives flashed through my mind, as though it were a slide show; years reduced to brief moments of the bond he and I shared. Words were trapped inside me. Did I think that by not saying anything he really wasn’t dead? Finally, my eyes moved from the body of my brother, looking at the face of the attendant. There were no words to exchange, the up and down motion from my head was the only confirmation he needed. He slid the white cloth over my brother’s head and wheeled him away.

I stood there surrounded by those bare walls of brick, it was over so quickly; I stood alone in the silence of my thoughts.

I don’t know how people deal with death, we are all so different. But laying there on that table, I saw something that attendant couldn’t see; I saw the lifeless body of my brother, someone whom I hugged, laughed with, played with, ate with and slept with as a child. King David said this about his son after learning he was dead:

But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.1

I think about Jesus, and how God must have felt as Christ hung there in the silence on the cross. How conflicted God must have felt as,

Jesus called out with a loud voice,Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.When he had said this, he breathed his last.2

How it must have pained God as they laid the body of Christ in that tomb. Until finally, on the third day, the Son of God rose from the dead. How it must have pleased the Father that Jesus rose from the dead, fulfilling what had been set in motion before you or I ever existed.

We, who call on the name of Jesus, wait in hope for His return. We believe He will show up, not just in the end time,

…for He Himself has said,I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,3

We are unlike those who have no interest in Christ. They are like that attendant in the morgue; performing the ritual task of a job. But if they knew who Jesus is, their whole outlook would change. No matter what you face in life, Christ will show up to get you over, above and beyond your circumstances. I've put my life in His hands. I've seen Him show up. He's done it for me; He'll show up for you.

“ 'Men of Galilee,' they said,why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’ ”4

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.5

Heavenly Father,

You are the great I AM. There is nothing too hard for You. You are holy, just, righteous and true. You have written Your laws in our hearts and put Your Spirit in our lives. Who are we to receive such love and kindness from You? Your grace is beyond measure and Your love knows no end. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Lord, You Show Up, always when I call, when I need You, You are there for me. Thank You Lord for showing up, always and forever. Amen.


Footnotes:
  1. 2 Samuel 12:23, NIV
  2. Luke 23:46, NIV
  3. Hebrews 13:5,NASB
  4. Acts 1:11,NIV
  5. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, NIV
References:
  1. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  2. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  3. Biblegateway.com


39 comments:

lioneagle said...

Hi MTJ -

Dear brother in Christ, the portion about your brother pulled at my heart. What pain that must have been for you and your family.
Lord, JESUS please...!

Thank you for sharing this MTJ...

Yes, with GOD we can conquer it all - for sure...!

Nicole said...

MTJ~ I am so sorry you had to go through that with your brother. That is something no one wants to ever do.
I am so glad that God is with us no matter what the circumstances. He will never leave us and waits patiently for us to come to Him!
What a comfort it is knowing that our God is that faithful, that He will return one day and His family will all be together again!
Much love and hugs to you and your family!

Peggy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
myletterstoemily said...

oh, i read almost all the way down, before i
realized i was holding my breath.

i'm so sorry for your terrible loss.

it was amazing to see how you wove the
scripture through to bring consolation but
also reality to the grief of losing a loved one.

blessings,
lea

Renee said...

What a deeply touching post. I am so sorry you had to go through the death of your brother and identifying the body. Your faith comes through in all you write. I love how you say God "shows up" for us! God bless your weekend.

Stuff could always be worse said...

Yes what pain, a death is. Jesus does give us strength. Such a touching story.
kim
ps. I know going back to post, to add a few things?

Whidbey Woman said...

Such a powerful post! I am left speechless. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Sharon Kirby said...

I am overcome - without words. You made me FEEL this moment in your life. Such a heartbreak...

But I love how you went from a time of despairing, to the glorious promises of God. He alone is the reason we can face EVERYTHING in life - including death.

He is the great I AM - the One who shows up. He never sleeps, He never slumbers. He never grows weak, He never grows weary. He is the First and Last, the cloud by day, the pillar of fire at night.

He IS - forever the King...my King...the One who is always there.

GOD BLESS, MTJ - and thank you for this beautiful post.

☺lani☺ said...

I'm speechless, I don't know what to say. Neverthelss, thanks for sharing this, I pauses for a moment and started to reflect!

Wanda said...

Wow, MTJ, you're such a powerful storyteller. Your description of the event made it feel as if I was there along with you. I can't even imagine experiencing such but I love the way you tied into the faithfulness of God. He does show up for us. In whatever situation we might find ourselves.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

What a sad experience that you had. I'm so sorry that you had to identify your brother. It is true God is there with us.
God Bless,
Ginger

Virginia said...

Powerful post!! I’m so touch, but like you said, He'll always show up on time.
Much Blessings,
Virginia

INSIDE THE SHRINK said...

Wow! Although that moment lives on in your memory, the fact that you were able to write it down so detailed with the thoughts and emotions and then to relate it back to God and His Son Jesus Christ, shows me that you have healed. The grief will always remain, but the Lord lives around that grief now and you have left it in His hands. What a powerful post. God bless you, Dr. Bobbi

Charlotte said...

I can't even imagine how painful this must have been for you. I'm sorry you had to go through it, but I'm glad you shared the experience with us. I'm so thankful for our heavenly Father and for Jesus who comfort us in times like this. I'm glad you shared your faith.
Blessings,
Charlotte

Gretta said...

Stopping by from Spiritual Sundays~ Thank you for sharing one of the darkest times in your life with us to encourage us and show God through situations just like what you experienced.

grettajohns.blogspot.com

Clif said...

Yes, He will show up! Praise the Lord! This is a wonderful post with a great message. Thank you for going through the pain of writing it.

sarah said...

.I'm sorry MTJ that you had to go through that with identifying your borther. I don't know your full story...but your posts always hit home...I think like me...you've gone through some tough stuff. Thanks MTJ for being you...and for speaking your truth.

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Such a touching story. I am sorry you had to go through that with your brother.
You're right, He always show up on time.
God Bless You

Annesphamily said...

What a powerful post! I am thankful that you shared this with us. Thank you and know you are prayed for and you are a remarkable person to share this grief. Thank you. Anne

Lily said...

I am so sorry, recent or distant, this is a pain, a sorrow that does not go away. The pain may dull but it is always with you. May God be with you always as you take this journey alone, the one you always invisioned would include your brother.

You have incredible strength, I do not know that I could have stood through that. God bless you.
~Lily

Ruth said...

Hi MTJ, i'm so sorry you had to go through such loss and pain. thank you for sharing this with us...a lovely and powerful message!

Veronica Lee said...

This is so touching. Thanks for sharing.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Donnie said...

I am at a loss for words. I know you did what you had to do so no other person in your family had to do it. I believe Jesus did the same thing for us. This was a very powerful post especially with the hymn in my ears and your words in my heart. Have a blessed Sunday.

Anita Johnson said...

Your story is a heartbreak, but the title says it all..."He showed up". God bless you.

dunlizzie said...

Wow. This is powerful. Thank you.

Ian Curtis said...

My condolences, friend.
I have a friend who, just last week, had something unexpected occur. One of his friends (a fellow believer I have never met) was painting the side of a house with his brother when the electrical cables attached to the house came loose. It was falling straight at them, and he kicked his brother off of the ladder and took hold of the cable, which killed him instantly. He left behind a fiance and her children. His brother was electrocuted, but survived, largely because of this believer's selfless actions. I just wanted to share with you, because it moved us deeply and we can only pray that in such a situation we would be so selfless.
Thank you for sharing, and know that you are frequently in our prayers "over here." Ian.

Carolyn said...

Wow! I am so sorry, MTJ! Such a powerful message! Thank you for sharing! Death has a way of making our hearts stand still...I lost my father in almost a similar, heartbreaking fashion...took months to heal...not knowing for sure his destination. But God revealed Himself to me in a mighty way during that time of despair...speaking loudly to me, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. What an awesome God we serve! Wouldn't ever want to go forward without Him! We are too fragile to ever face what lies ahead alone without Him.

Also believe the times of despair brings us ever so closer to Him that would never be otherwise. Have to embrace the trials knowing He provides a bond with Him that is unbelieveably strong as a result!

Thank you!
Blessings!
Carolyn ~ Cottage Sunshine

Joan said...

My father died suddenly of a heart attack and I was the one who found him. I was 21 at the time, and had it not been for Jesus showing up, I would have never had the strength to do what needed to be done. Still, I can't imagine having to identify my brother's body. I'm so thankful we have a Savior who never leaves us or forsakes us.

Blessings,
Joan

Judy said...

Hi MTJ,

A very poignant post! Very sorry to hear about your brother and what you had to go through to identify him. But as you say, the Lord saw you through it and He will see us through the very difficult times in our own lives. He will never leave us or forsake us. And, yes, he's coming back for His bride!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a post about my article on the burning bush. I don't know if I told you but I recently started a photography blog to show off God's glorious creation. I invite you to stop by and feel free to follow it if you'd like. The URL is http://www.judysphotogallery.blogspot.com. Thanks.

Blessings,
Judy

Janis@Open My Ears Lord said...

What a strong experience. In the long run, I'm sure the Lord used this to draw you to Himself. Death makes us aware of our own immortality. And sometimes, it is there that we find Jesus.

Blessings to you for sharing something so deep and personal.

Janis

Faith Imagined said...

Tears are streaming down my face! How painful that must have been. I have never lost a close relative before but I know I will eventually. It is encouraging to know you have gone through such suffering but God was there comforting you.

I adore your prayer in the post. Beautiful!

Lloyd said...

Praying your prayer with you my brother in Christ. May our Lord continue to bless you and give you the peace and comfort that only He can give. God bless, Lloyd

Teresa said...

This story so vivid and descriptive...I felt I was though I was walking down the corridor with you. To see even in your writing the beautiful grace of God over your life is overwhelming. I don't believe I breathed the whole time I read your post, I felt as though I had lost a brother as I read about your brother. Thank you for sharing your story and God's testimony of grace over your life.
~ Teresa

Karen said...

Words seem inadequate for how I feel after reading this...

God truly showed up to comfort you...so you in turn could comfort others...

Very powerful sharing, MTJ....

A Peculiar Person said...

Your prayer at the end of this post broke my heart, in part because I recognized it's cry. Like so many of the psalms of David, it spoke so beautifully of God's ability to meet us in our darkest moments.

I've had a handful of those moments where grief and despair seemed overwhelming, when it seemed like there was no way out of the darkness. Thank God for his mercy. In those moments of desperation he was always faithful to show up!

Dean Spencer said...

MTJ -

It's difficult to imagine having to go and identify someone I know, let alone a brother, in the morgue. You mentioned how it was years ago for you and no longer painful, but I still pray for you MTJ that God's grace helps you through the years.

When my dad died, he had a heart attack and my brother-in-law was the paramedic that showed up at the scene to try to revive him. That was my brother-in-law's first emergency case...and last. I've never witnessed someone dying, but recently had to take my cat (a family friend) and put him to sleep. Watching his life being taken away was awfully difficult. Sorry if it seems odd that I bring a cat in this discussion, but it's still very real and fresh in my mind.

I am so thankful, like you mention, that "God's grace is beyond measure." I truly believe Romans 8:28 "We know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes." There is that promise that somehow everything we go through in life (good and bad) works together for good.

Thank you for sharing for such a personal, and painful, moment in your life. I can truly tell that God is working in you and bringing healing. I can tell because you bring God glory. Thank you MTJ. God bless!

From The Heart Online said...

I don't really know what to say ... your description of corridors and the vivid details had me standing right next to you in the cold, dark rooms.

Thank you for sharing! I hope one day to hear more about how God pulled you out of that dark time.

Thanks for bearing your life out here to glorify God and encourage others!

Peggy (mazmagi) said...

WOW MTJ...tear in my eyes...but Jesus shows up... I'm speechless! My deepest sympathies that you had to go through this experience with your brother and cold people just doing their job... but I'm thankful like you that we can trust Jesus to show up! I felt each word, each pain, each sense of loss (even in the corridor)and at the cross.

I don't deal well with death...but I recall a similar experience with my dad when I came home from Mexico to bury him and they kept him for me to spend some private time with him before they cremated him. And then also the grief this last year of my friend that committed suicide. But your words bring HOPE!
And your prayer is wonderful!

So glad that you included a SONG that confirmed with soul that Jesus shows up, it kept me going to the prayer along with the chosen verses of God's Word. Again my deepest condolences and thanks for letting me know that HE'LL SHOW UP for me!
I'm so glad that he does for you, too, brother...over and over...your faith shines through your thoughts!

Thank you for sharing MTJ and may God hold you and your family with the hope of eternity and lasting life. Much prayers for comfort and

Peace in Christ,
Peggy

November 12, 2010 5:01 PM
*sorry but I didn't like the typo in the first line, God forbid if there are more... I almost thought that I failed to comment when I read this from being too overwhelmed

daylily777 said...

I am sorry you lost your brother . I have lost mine also , but not my violent means , he died of a heart attack a few Christmases ago.(I suppose all death seems violent) When he died I felt as if I died , It was not like when any other relative , even when my Father died .One of my sisters said she felt the same way , she pointed out to me , that with a sibling you have so many common experiences ,that you really have shared more with them than with other people in your life. In such circumstances, I wonder how anyone can make it through without Jesus to rely on
.Praise to Him , He does always show up !
Blessings,
~Myrna