On this day sixteen years ago, my younger brother passed away. It was a devastating blow that I never really recovered from.
At that time in my commitment as a young convert, I felt a remarkable closeness to God that made me keep asking, ‘Why didn’t you warn me God?’
Don’t get me wrong I still feel that remarkable closeness but today, I believe I know a little more than I did back then.
I remember that my brother had just become a Christian and one of our last conversations bothered around taking the gospel ‘beyond Coca-Cola’. It was a grandiose plan–more like a daydream–to circumnavigate the world by every available means in order to reach the people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was all I thought about at this time, particularly after his tragic passing.
My ephemeral mind at the time, impaled on the idea that I would never see Efosa again in this life, began to solidify itself on the message of the Bible over the weeks that followed . Bible verses like ‘Precious in his sight is the death of His saint’ and ‘ To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’ became my mantra sometimes speaking them out loud to the hearing of people around me.
In that part of my life, there was much weeping and praying. So much that physical death lost its shadowy grandeur that it has over most men. I learned that I could tame death with my words. And you should learn this too in Proverbs 18:21.
Losing a best friend was as traumatic as trauma can be but in that dark hour, the contrary winds drove deep the things I now earnestly believe.
The zeal of new believers may have made us aspire to spread the gospel around the world. But zeal is always plagued by myopia as the zealous are not always temperate enough to have the full view.
The gospel–as I am still learning–is about Jesus and not, world evangelism. The archetypal God-man doesn’t leave himself without witness as to whom his believers are.
We are Christians, not because any observances we might keep but because of who we are associated to. They first called us, ‘Christians’ at Antioch because people took knowledge that these people had been with Jesus. It had nothing to do with their profession–even though that had its importance–but everything to do with their behavior.
As I commemorate the life of a fellow disciple, knowing that the remembrance of the righteous is a blessing, I am again comforted that Efosa is in a better place until we meet again.