|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
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.
- 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
- The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6