My older brother spent his lifetime in a way in which many would consider unproductive. Unfortunately, as many talents that he had been gifted, he did not utilize any of them in a way that would benefit both himself and his family. Instead, my brother chose a lifetime of illegal drugs as a way to cope from various failures he experienced in his 20’s.
My brother absolutely did not believe in God or Jesus Christ. It was my heart’s desire that my brother accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior before he passed away. As my brother’s health continued to decline, it was even more important to me to have the opportunity to speak to him about accepting Jesus. His firm stance on the belief that there was no God had been standing in the way of my ever being able to talk with him beyond a sentence or two. A miracle would be needed at this point.
I had been praying for an opportunity to see my brother. More specifically, I had been praying that I would be able to stay in their home and use their vehicle while I was visiting, in order to reduce the travel costs. Normally, I have to spend the money for airfare, rental car and hotel. An opportunity presented itself which was an answer to prayer! My sister-in-law called me and explained that she wanted to fly out of town to visit one of her children and grandchildren, but couldn’t because she could not leave my brother alone. I wholeheartedly volunteered! My sister-in-law was surprised. You’d be willing to fly in and take care of him for 5 days? Absolutely! My sister-in-law was so thankful, she offered for me to stay in their home and drive her vehicle while she was out of town. An answer to prayer!
Let’s cut to the chase. I spent 5 days with my brother and every day was the same thing. He would sit on the couch with his headphones on watching TV – yes, all day – every day. He could barely get up from the couch and walk the 6 steps to the bathroom and oftentimes could not make it to the bathroom. My brother would literally eat, sleep and watch TV on the couch. He would only speak about whatever food I was giving him. When I tried to speak with him, he would lift up one side of his headphones from his ear and look at me, make a quick response like “yes” or “ok” and then put the side of the headphones back on his ear and stare straight towards the TV. I would give him breakfast, lunch, dinner and protein snacks, all of which he barely ate. There was no initiative to have a conversation with me and minimal words were spoken by him. The interaction between us was negligible – for 5 days.
The morning of my departure started out the same way by giving my brother the only thing he wanted in the morning – 2 hard boiled eggs. No response. No interaction. No movement. He’s still on the same couch.
I had a little more than one hour left before I had to leave for the airport. As I went upstairs to pack, my frustration level was very high. In fact, as I packed, I was – admittedly – venting to the Lord out loud about not being able to speak with my brother for the last 5 days. “How am I supposed to talk with him when he won’t respond? I can’t believe I’ve been here 5 days and he won’t respond.” Yes, I was venting and complaining to the Lord as I practically threw my clothes and articles into my suitcase.
As I carried my suitcase down the stairs, I realized that I had about an hour before I was supposed to leave. At the bottom of the staircase, I put down my suitcase and turned to the left to go into the kitchen. As I turned to the left, I was shocked – and I mean shocked – to find that my brother was sitting on a bar stool next to the back door!! Wait – what? He started to enthusiastically speak with me! “Thank you so much for coming! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you coming and staying with me. I’ve enjoyed all of your food. You are amazing. I so appreciate you being here. I can’t thank you enough!”
Who are you and what have you done with my brother? How did you get off of the couch, walk about 5 steps and then walk up 3 stairs, walk past the dining room table, walk past 2 barstools to the last barstool? I quickly looked at the couch and back to my brother. How? How? How did you do this? You have barely walked to the bathroom the past 5 days. You just spoke more words to me than you have the last 5 days!
There was a night and day difference with my brother. He was like his old self! What happened? I’m in shock! My jaw dropped as I tried to absorb what just happened. It’s like he had a completely new lease on life!
The words just came out of my mouth – “We need to talk!”. He fairly easily walked past the 2 bar stools, past the dining room table, down the 3 steps, and took another 5 steps to get back to the couch. I’m still in shock at the amazing transformation that happened – all while I was upstairs packing my suitcase.
I began to tell my brother the things that the Lord has done for me. God saved my townhouse when the townhouse 2 doors down blew up and the fire destroyed the house between us but stopped just before our house. The Lord saved me from two potentially fatal car accidents. The Lord brought me the vehicle I prayed for. The list goes on. I spent the next almost hour telling my brother about what God has done for me, as well as explaining that the only way for us to spend eternity together is for him to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. We have a lot of catching up to do, and we can spend eternity catching up if you accept Jesus. After talking and talking, I finally asked my brother if he would accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He responded, “I did in my heart”. I’LL TAKE IT! THANK YOU, JESUS! My brother has not lived his life to any kind of full potential, did drugs and did not believe in God. I’ll take this simple “yes” and praise God for it!
A week before he passed away, I went to visit him again. He was cognizant and could understand words, although it took him a bit to think about what you were saying. I told him, “remember you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior”. He responded, “yes”.
I called my sister-in-law the following Monday morning to check on my brother. She informed me that she had just come downstairs and realized that he had passed away. Although I knew this day was coming, it was still hard. Really hard.
The following Saturday, I was sitting my chair and talking to the Lord. “Tell my brother the story, Lord. Tell him the story. Tell him that You transformed and rejuvenated him that day – you got him off the couch, take 5 steps, walk up 3 stairs, walk past the dining room table, and walk past 2 bar stools to sit on the last bar stool the farthest away from where he was. Tell him how You strengthened him and transformed him. Tell him how You changed him so he was able to be himself and and talk to me. Tell him the story, Lord”.
I stopped talking to God and I paused to reflect on what He did to rejuvenate my brother that day. Just then, the Lord gave me a vision of my brother in heaven. He allowed me to see the back of my brother, who was on his knees and had his arms straight up. By the way, my brother lost his hair when he was in his early 20’s and in the vision, he had all his hair!
I had asking the Lord to tell my brother the story of what He did that day. When the Lord gave me the vision of my brother, He said, “I will tell him the story when he stops praising Me.” My brother was on his knees and had been praising the Lord since Monday – and this was Saturday! After the Lord showed me the vision of my brother in heaven, I felt the “sting” of his death leave me. I felt such a peace knowing that my brother is in heaven, and the Lord healed me of my hurt.
About 2 weeks later, the Holy Spirit gave me an update on my brother. “He has all of the love and acceptance here in heaven that he ever wanted on earth.”
I can’t thank God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit for moving on my brother – for knowing what it would take for my brother to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior in order for him to be in heaven. He’s now enjoying life to the absolute fullest. And yes, one day, we will spend time catching up with each other.
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