When you suddenly go from healthy (albeit permanently tired) to dangerously allergic to who-knows-what, you start thinking about death. I must admit that my first few days after the initial pepper reaction, especially after researching that specific allergy on the net, I sat around expecting to die at any moment from some kind of allergic reaction. Just as I was trying to move past that, in stepped my brother.
The verse “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17) seemed so enigmatic to me as a teenager. My brother and I had always been close, and I considered him my best friend. Sure, we occasionally fought some, as all siblings do, but why did the Bible seem to say that my brother was born for me to fight with? I was a young adult before I finally understood that this verse means that while a true friend will be there all the time for me, my brother is the one who can best help me out when I’m in over my head in difficulties. Sure enough, the Bible has once again proven true.
My brother called to talk with me a few days into my thoughts of morbidity. In typical brotherly fashion, he kept saying things like, “Well, Sis, I don’t know what to tell you…I wish I could fix it for you, but I can’t.” I smiled to myself, remembering all the times he’d protected me while we were growing, all the times he’d fixed things for me or taken over difficult situations for me. There’s nothing like a “big-little brother”! My childhood hero is now a full-blown hero as a WV state trooper, so he knows better than I do about how quickly life can be cut short. At least he could empathize with me. Shortly before we hung up, he commented, “Well, you didn’t die last Monday night, so the Lord must not be done with you yet.” That’s what snapped me back into really living again.
It’s true! I could have died that Monday, or any of the days since then. People do die of this kind of allergy. But the fact is, I didn’t. Now, I have no idea how much the Lord wants to work in and through me before I meet Him face to face, but I do know that I want to finish whatever plan He has for me, and I know that He will not take me from this earth until He is done with me. To me, that means that if He does choose to take me before my children are grown, then He has a better plan for them (that’s kind of hard to swallow). The worries about me not getting to help my husband finish rearing these four precious babies are null and void. Why do we want to rear them? For His glory, of course! I rest in the peace that passes all understanding, knowing that He is in control, and He loves us more than I can comprehend.
I did learn something important while wallowing in my morbid thoughts. All of a sudden, everything I said and did took on a new significance. What if this comment is the last one I make to this child? What if this is the last touch she feels from my hand? What if this is the last question I answer? I became very aware of every response, every instruction, and especially the tone and inflection in my voice. This is a lesson I do want to hang onto–not that I want to be morbid, but I do want each interaction with my children to be precious. It is too easy to slip back into just a quick, short answer or a hurried pat on the head or adjustment of the hair or clothes. I have a new focus on trying to make each of my children feel precious and loved during each interaction with me, not just in the feel-good times. It isn’t easy, but I’m working on it.
Well, my friend, you’re not dead yet! What might the Lord still have for you to do? If you have a have a sibling going through some type of adversity right now, He just might want you to give him or her a call as a reminder of why you were born–one of the reasons, anyway. Even if you can’t fix it, the Bible says you were “born for adversity,” so you just may be the hero he or she needs today!
Love ya, Jerry! I’m so glad you are my “big-little brother”! (Mary, please make sure he reads this.)