Friday, December 29, 2006

The Shadow of Death 2: My Brother

Precious Saints !!!!

So there I was relaxing on a Thursday evening looking forward to going on leave in a weeks time. When the death part of life suddenly happened to me. My brothers wife Libby phoned me at about 9.30pm from Johannesburg and calmly told me that my brother Clive had had a heart attack and passed away at 'bout 11am that morning, he was 54. Talk about being hit in the guts. I didn't know what to do or how to feel. While listening in disbelief, I cried, felt empty, shocked, numb, angry, dazed, confused you name it I felt it.

While listening to Libby, God's Spirit inside me just convicted me so deeply to go up to Johannesburg for the service and to spend some time with my brothers family. To be honest with you all I did not really want to go, I mean my brother and I were not even close, I don't really think anyone really expected it of me to go. It would be so much easier just to stay put here in Cape Town send my condolences along with flowers and a card. God just said to me you go, you are my mercy, you are my grace, you are my love. I still didn't really want to go it would just hurt too much.

Well I went. My step-daughter Lisa booked the red eye flight (5.45am) on Mango airlines the following week Wednesday, Allie dropped me off at the airport. And there I was just praying and chatting to God all the while on the way there. When I arrived at Johannesburg airport I didn't even have a clue how to get out of the airport terminal let alone remember how to get to the suburb (Roodepoort) my brothers family lived in. After breakfast (bacon & eggs, without the bacon?!) and a few false starts I eventually got out of the airport. Then Jabu gave me a taxi ride in his 1984 Merc, for 300 bucks, to Clive and Libby's house. I navigated while he drove.

I didn't have any idea as how to be towards my brothers family or how they would be towards me, especially in this hurting time of loss. I hadn't seen them in years....I felt so lost, weak and inadequate. The thoughts, "Wot am I doing here? Who do you think you are fooling?" kept popping into my head. So all I tried to do was just be there, help with whatever I could and chat and listen to Libby, Michael (Clive's oldest son of 34,guessing)Cindy (Clive's daughter of 28,guessing again) and Dominica an old friend of the family who had also flown up from Cape Town to be with the family. Preston (26 ja guessing) the youngest could not make it to the service as he is in London on a special visa, he did see his dad in August this year.

The Thursday morning,the day of the memorial service, I woke up at about 3.30am. I just felt so acutely the loss that this family had suffered. I missed my own family terribly. I just wept and wept and then SMSed some of you to cover me in prayer. What a feeling when those replies came back and some of you even phoned me back. It made me weep even more 'cause this family did not really know the depth of love that Jesus Christ has for them and I did. I was experiencing it as God's Holy Spirit just washed over me and ministered to me. Eventually I got up at about 6.30am and His Holy Spirit and your prayers had just made me strong to show His unconditional love for the rest of that day.

At the memorial service Cindy, she was very close to her dad, said some words of love, then Dominica and then their ex neighbour and long time friend Gordon. The family had asked me to close the service. What a blessing. I had not prepared anything except that our Lord had given me the scripture reading in the early hours of the morning, 1 Corinthians 13 verses 1 to 8. So it came to my turn and I just shared with the people there a side of my brother that they never knew. These were the haphazard memories that had come to my mind since he had died. How he had hid under the bed when I was born and wouldn't come out 'cause he wanted a sister, how he used to bully me, how sometimes he would let me play with his fancy electric cars and train set, how he rescued me from bullies once, the practical jokes he used to play on our gran, how he would practice his dance moves behind closed doors, and then just as we where maturing enough to build a relationship he moved away.Then I introduced 1 Corinthians 13. I said my brother loved music and there was a popular song by a group called Foreigner called I Want to Know What Love Is and this is the answer to that question written by a man called Paul 1,900 years ago and then I read it out. Libby had asked me to close with the Lords prayer 'cause it was the only prayer that Clive knew. Piece of cake I thought, well in saying the Lords prayer I suddenly "choked" my mind went blank and I struggled to get to the right words. Somehow I stumbled through it and ja the whole thing was recorded for posterity, talk about embarrassing.

Anyways time moved on. The following morning I awoke at 3.30/4am again, just crying and weeping before Jesus. Then His Holy Spirit said to me so clearly in my heart "The journey I want you to take is a long one." I was thinking of a physical journey. But His Spirit came back to me and said "No the longest journey I want you to take is inside you, inside your heart." I understood. I SMSed some of you again and His Holy Spirit just ministered to me.

When I waved goodbye to Libby and Cindy at Joburg airport it was a strange feeling, it felt like I was leaving a piece of myself behind. Michael had said something while I was there which stuck in my head, he said, "When you loose someone who you couldn't get close to, it is sometimes a bigger kick in the pants then if you where close to them." I fully understood what he was trying to say, he and his dad were constantly at odds with each other and were never really close. Just like my brother and myself.

There was so much more that happened. But I just share this with you and thank you for your prayers and loving support. It is so good to be a part of the Body of Christ my prayer is that we all try with love and passion in our hearts to bring more of the lost into His Body. May you shine the light of His grace, mercy and love in the year to come.

Love Them Like Jesus (Mark Hall/Casting Crowns)

The love of her life is drifting away
They're losing the fight for another day
The life that she's known is falling apart
A fatherless home, a child's broken heart
You're holding her hand, you're straining for words
You trying to make - sense of it all
She's desperate for hope, darkness clouding her view
She's looking to you
Just love her like Jesus, carry her to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves her and stay by her side
Love her like Jesus
Love her like Jesus
The gifts lie in wait, in a room painted blue
Little blessing from Heaven would be there soon
Hope fades in the night, blue skies turn to gray
As the little one slips away
You're holding her hand, you're straining for words
You're trying to make sense of it all
They're desperate for hope, darkness clouding their view
They're looking to you
Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
Lord of all creation holds our lives in His hands
The God of all the nations holds our lives in His hands
The Rock of our salvation holds our lives in His hands
He cares for them just as He cares for you
So love them like Jesus, love them like Jesus
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
Love them like Jesus

LoCTY !!!!!


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