A Brothers Love

This is not something I talk about much but it has been on my heart…

I really don’t know when it happened or how it happened. All I do know is that it happened. My eldest brother John, at some point in his forty years of life, gave himself to Christ. I was never close to him and only saw him for a few brief moments before he passed away. We truly lived in two different parts of the country, which made visits difficult. I think however that in those two or three visits I had with him before he passed away I learned more about him and God then I could have learned in the span of years we had together.

It was a cold Christmas Eve morning, cold because it was Michigan but also because I drove up from Florida. Around six in the morning my brother David and I pulled my little Toyota pickup to the drive in front of John’s trailer. The people next door must have thought we were crazy a few minutes later when we pulled out a circular saw and started throwing boards down when it was in the 20s and a foot or more of snow was on the ground. David and I didn’t care; our brother John had not been able to leave his trailer in months because he had no ramp to use.

At this point John was pretty much confined to a wheel chair. My brother had Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This disease for the most part effects your voluntary muscle control, which after time renders the person paralyzed. However, through the entire process your mind remains unaffected.

The look on John’s face and the tears in his eye said it all. God allowed us to bless this man in a way we will never be able to comprehend this side of heaven. The rest of that Christmas went by in a blur, I was there for a short while longer and had to be on my way, but God taught me a few things. First, that even in what seems to be a hopeless situation that God can bring joy and love in the simplest thing like made of old wood. Second, would be the hour or so I sat on the couch watching T.V. evangelists with John. He said it was the only way he could go to church anymore. God really opened my eyes to the passion one man can have for Him even in the face of death.

I was walking in Wal-Mart when I received the call. My sister told me that John didn’t have much longer. She thought it was best if I could come up for a visit. I had no money for the ticket but God provided it anyway. Those few days I was there God worked my heart through a man who was, for the most part, paralyzed. I would spend an hour sitting with him to understand a few words that he attempted to say. All of them praising God. My prayers changed during that time and I recalled the words of Jesus when he said “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. (Luke 22:42 NIV)” I had been selfish and wanted God to heal him for my own gain, so I would not have to bare the loss. God’s will was for Himself to be glorified through John.

The final good bye was a difficult one. I didn’t want to leave but I had no choice. John told me that this would be the last time we would see each other for a while. He said he would “go home” at the end of the month. He was right. Then as I was turning for the door he spoke something else. It was difficult to understand but thirty minutes later I knew the four words he was trying to say. I had heard them plenty of times before, their meaning more of a kind gesture in the church, but never had I heard them from someone in his shoes. I got up to leave with a tear in my eye and lingered a moment longer, watching him through the crack in the doorframe, the words he just spoke dancing in my head. “I’ll pray for you.”


~ by Dan Browne on March 5, 2006.

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