When the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19
The disciples are hopeless. They had grown to love Jesus. He said he was King, but they watched as he was arrested, condemned to death, and then crucified. The disciples had never faced a more desperate moment. Now they meet to comfort one another in their shared loss. To add to the grief they are experiencing over their Lord’s death, they also fear for their own lives. So, they meet in secret. The doors are locked. Voices are hushed. Anxiety and tension have peaked. At that moment, Jesus enters the room that is off-limits to all others. There is no obstacle that can prevent him from appearing. He is God.
I understand the disciples well in this passage. Do you? I know what it is like to be locked away in fear. When life took a series of bad turns in the 90’s, I retreated into a silent world and shut most everyone else out. Not because I wanted to be antisocial but because the pain rendered me speechless. The story was too long to tell, too cobwebbed to articulate, and the ability to interact through everyday chitchat was absent. I became an emotional recluse and felt that I was destined to live a very long time in isolation. I didn’t know how to connect with God either and felt that even that was improbable.
I experienced a deep healing of God over the course of three years. At the end of that, Daughters of Promise was born in 2000. My fear of people subsided in the arms of Jesus. I learned to live in spacious places where my story became part of the collective story of the redeemed. Life is still mixed, as yours is mixed, with joy and tears. When searing pain marks my path, I find myself once again in the room with Jesus’s disciples who teeter on the edge of despair. Our longing causes us to be still, look up, and wait for the breath of our Savior upon our cheek.
Since our son died just 5 weeks ago, I have felt His presence many times. While there are understandably dark moments of grief, the indwelling presence of God is the rock which keeps our family steadfast. Our feet have not slipped into unbelief because we are being carried by the wind of the Spirit – propelling us just above the storm. Your prayers and many cards of encouragement have been part of His sustaining grace.
I don’t know if you are hiding today. Perhaps your heart is sealed away in a tomb of disillusionment and fear. Maybe you’re keeping your entire world on the other side of the door but you fear that even God cannot reach you. He can! He’s with me in the most challenging of times after a child’s suicide. I want to shout ~ Yes, He calls our names and says, “I’m here. Peace be with you.”
Help each of us call out to You so we can feel the healing of Your presence. In that secret place, do spiritual surgery on our souls. Amen