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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Jackson

Gather your people.

“That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.” John 20:19

It’s easy to read the Bible as stories of fantasy or fiction and forget that these historical figures faced problems that took their breath away. It’s easy to forget that their minds and hearts functioned in the same way as ours do, and when events happened in their lives they experienced extreme emotion. They felt overwhelmed, heartbroken, angry, and fearful.

This simple verse in the book of John says that Jesus’ best friends - the ones who literally followed behind Him as He preached, healed and taught - were now gathered behind locked doors because they were afraid of man. Though they believed Jesus was the Son of God and were friends of the Son of God – they were fearful.

It’s ok if you feel afraid.

During Jesus time on earth He gathered these men and created a bond between them – a bond so strong that when they were afraid they gathered together. It is not often that when we face fear, heartache, loss or hurt we send out a call to gather our people together. We often like to be the one called into the gathering when others are hurting to speak peace and words of comfort – but the disciples admitted fear. They were there to support one another – mutually. Instead of sitting in their homes allowing their fears to overtake them, they chose to gather for mutual encouragement because something happens when we know we are not alone. There is great peace that comes when an empathetic listening ear says, not only am I willing to sit next to you, but I’m willing to feel it alongside of you.

This is new for me.

I enjoy being the one that says, “Come closer, I want to walk alongside of you and point you to Jesus.” But learning to say, “I need someone to sit with me while I process my pain” is a level of humility and transparency that is countercultural in so many ways. And that vulnerability has the possibility to lead to rejection, which is the sacrifice we make in true relationships. But when the disciples gathered – when dear friends gather – it was for mutual support. There was not a leader among them. They came on level ground to say we are afraid but together we do not have to face our fear alone.

Find your gatherers.

People that will meet you with transparency and humility. People who will be empathetic and sit with you in your emotion and experiences. People who will gather when your emotion tempts you to be alone.

Be the one that propels others to say - I am hurting, we need to gather together.

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