But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:14-15 NKJV
This morning, I feel like story-telling, because I am so grateful for the Lord’s love and patience with both me and my older brother, John. We could not have been more different in personality. I am shy and he was wild and crazy with a million friends. It took the Lord and cookies for us to form a real bond. I will explain…
I miss John so much since he went to be with Jesus last year. The things I miss most about him are the little things that happened over and over. I remember how excited he got every time the family got together and I handed him a box of “preacher cookies.” That became the basis of our relationship for awhile. We were very different in lifestyle but we had one thing in common. We both loved cookies! It was my privilege to make cookies for him and his to make me feel like they were the best in the world. Yeah, I know he did that so he would get free cookies often, but it still stands out as one of my favorite memories of Him. I would barely get in the door to a family gathering when he would say, “Hey sis, did you bring cookies?” And usually, before the family gathering was up, he would tell me, “I will text you when my box is empty.” Would that I could hear those words one more time! He made me feel he needed his little sis.
What else stands out? The fact that I and my siblings were so concerned for his soul. It is tough to talk to your own family about the Lord, because you don’t want them to feel judged, but loved. I still question whether I did enough, soon enough. Did I tell him enough that I was praying for him? Did he truly know I loved him regardless of our differences? Could he see that his little sister only wanted the best for him and the best was the Lord?
In the end, yes, He knew. See, he was an amputee and his phantom pain was unbearable. Nothing gave him relief, that is, until he started reading a devotional I bought him and he started seeking the Lord out of desperation. I would like to say I was always that intentional with him, tending his need for God, but I wasn’t, until he reached out to me during a period of depression that scared him. That gave me the go-ahead to tell him how I really felt about what he should do. He flat out asked me, “Sis, can you please tell me what to do? I feel depressed. I will do anything you say.” That was something he never ever came close to asking me before, so I thanked the Lord for this opportunity, asked for right words and what came out was, “John, just pray.” Then, “Make an appointment with your doctor right away.”
He needed a simple answer. He could not handle anything more at the time. He said, “Okay, but will you pray for me , too?” “will you check on me every day for awhile?” Though my heart was breaking for him, I struggled to hold it together so he would hopefully hear the peace of Jesus in my voice. I was shell-shocked…Was this my wild brother I was talking to?
Though I was thrown by this sudden turn of events, it was a happy turn, my brother asking for me for guidance. It was daunting, though, because I am so imperfect and still have much to learn for myself. I felt inadequate for this task. But, by leaning heavy on the Lord, so I didn’t mess everything up, I did my best. John and I began to text and call each other every few days. John made me promise to do that. Baby step by baby step, I saw God work on his heart. I won’t go into details, but some God-things happened that blew his mind and he began to believe and want the Lord.
The last time I saw him, he was so happy and joking. There was a peace about him. He made a point of cracking joke after joke and causing my sister and I do our loud, embarrassing cackling laugh! He didn’t mention any pain that day. Something was different, I realized later. As I write all this down, I am so thankful for answered prayer. John may have taken the longest, hardest road possible to peace in Jesus, but he got there, I am sure. I knew, when he started sending me Bible verses and got excited about how good God was, that he was finally happy in the Lord.
Side-note, but an important note. I owe a debt of gratitude to a couple of John’s friends that took him to church and loved on him so much the last year of his life. How do you thank someone for influencing your sibling’s eternity? God is so good. He used those two saints to do His important work:) I will forever love you two. You know who you are because I now call you my sister and brother in Christ.
Thank you for reading. I just wanted to reminisce about how good our God has been and continues to be. I believe it is our job, as His children, to tell stories about what He has done in the lives of people we know. Why? So others will know that there is hope available and His name is God. So God will be glorified. Is there anything more important? Nope!
Father God, thank You for every opportunity, trial, blessing and joy you allow. Help us, as imperfect as we are to recognize that every experience can be used to glorify You and it is our honor to do so. We love You so much! Amen
With love from the Father to you,