When someone or something that you love dies, depression, agony, grief and despair become overwhelming. As a child growing up, there were eight of us around the same age group, all of which were either siblings or cousins. We were very close. Out of the group, the only one older than myself was my cousin, "Kissy". Kissy and I were a little over a year apart. Kissy was the first who taught me how to fight against "bullies" and then we would fight together against those same "bullies". It was Kissy who encouraged me to go further in life, rather than, succumb to our environment and we made an agreement that we would never compromise. It was Kissy who gave me a speech on not giving up when I confronted failure and together we decided not to ever give up. When decisions needed to be made for the benefit the group, Kissy and I would huddle and discuss all the "consequences and repercussions" and then Kissy would become the "voice of authority". Throughout my childhood, teen, and young adult years, Kissy became a representation of protection, strength, compassion, authority, encouragement, comfort, faith, and hope.
At the age of 23, I received a phone call that changed my life. A lot of commotion was going on in the back ground and I heard my youngest sister's voice say, "No mom, let me tell her." Immediately, I suspended everything that I was doing. The quivering voice on the other end of the receiver, who I recognized as my mother said, "Pumpkin, hold yourself together because you are going to fall apart..Your cousin Kissy.Kissy has met Peace?" That was my mother's way of telling me that my cousin had passed away. I don't remember much after that moment; but I do remember the consuming agony that swelled in my stomach and denial spasm over my chest. Why would God allow the very person or thing in your life that represents protection, strength, compassion, authority, encouragement, comfort, faith, and hope die?
In John 19, we encounter a mother and a disciple at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. Imagine a mother who was chosen by God to deliver a promise into this world looking at her son on the cross. Here this mother is, the one who carried him in a desert place, the one who nurtured and hid him when a threat was on his life to kill him, and the one who supported his ministry. This mother is now looking at her son, who is the protection, strength, compassion, authority, encouragement, comfort, faith, and hope for this world -pierced in his hands and feet unable to move and a crown of thorns on his head. A crown of thorns placed on his head and blood pouring down his body. Imagine the disciple whom Jesus loved looking at him on the cross. The disciple who left everything to follow Jesus because He was convinced that Jesus is the protection, strength, compassion, authority, encouragement, comfort, faith, and hope. With blood dripping down his body, Jesus Christ, speaks, "Woman here is your son." And Jesus looked at the disciple whom he loved and said, "Here is your mother." Why would God allow us to experience the death of protection, strength, compassion, authority, encouragement, comfort, faith, and hope after all God was the one who gave Jesus to Mary to carry, birth, and nurture. God was the one who sent Jesus for the disciples to follow? God allowed it, but why do we have to experience this in our lives?
As I kept reading the book of John, I came to a passage that answered the question I have been asking for these past years. In John 21 it is morning time- a new day. Jesus has already been resurrected and this is his third appearance to his disciples and something interesting happens. The disciple whom Jesus loved, the one that was at the cross with Jesus' mother, makes an announcement! The disciple announced, "IT IS THE LORD!"
I know you felt like the thing that was going to protect you from falling apart had died but "IT IS THE LORD." I know you thought that the strength you mustered to hold on to the end -of the end, of the rope had died, but "IT IS THE LORD." I know that you feel like compassion is fear's comrade, but "IT IS THE LORD." I know that you feel like you have no authority over a drowning situation, but "IT IS THE LORD." I know that the encouragement you used to have flew away with the wings of the morning and you feel comfortless, but "IT IS THE LORD." I know that you lost faith between inception and manifestation, but "IT IS THE LORD." I know that your hope had buried itself in the pillow of depression, but "IT IS THE LORD." IT IS THE LORD!
The disciple announces, "It is the Lord!" At this announcement Peter places on his garment and Peter plunges into the water. Be like Peter and put the garment of praise back on. Remember it is the Lord who provided food when you had nothing to eat. It is the Lord who gave you shelter when you didn't have anywhere to go. It is the Lord who gave you healing when the doctors couldn't do anything else. It is the Lord who stood in front of you when your enemies thought that they would triumph over you.
We have to be like Peter and plunge into the water! Peter, is the disciple who saw Jesus coming in the storm and Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on water. When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus he began to sink and said, "Lord save me." Now I caught up with Peter and we had a conversation that answered the question of why we experience the death of protection, strength, compassion, authority, encouragement, comfort, faith, and hope. I said, "Peter, I know you are a fisherman but after your last experience in the water what made you decide to plunge into the water? I mean from the last time we saw you in Matthew 14it didn't appear like you could swim" Peter's eyes full of courage and strength gazed at me and Peter declared, "When I saw Jesus, I knew that I could swim. Jesus already told us that greater works than these shall we do and so I plunged into the water. It wasn't until Jesus' death and resurrection that I saw the demonstration of victory." Peter continued, "It wasn't until I witness the death of my protection, strength, compassion, authority, encouragement, comfort, faith, and hope that I learned to swim. I learned to use my hands and I learned to use my feet. I learned to use all of my limbs to get to Jesus and I love Him. I love Him.
I love Him." Peter continued and said,
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faithof greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by firemay result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." -1Peter 1:3-7