Have Faith Through Sorrow | News, Sports, Jobs
This year some of my sisters in Christ and I are reading the Bible together in a year. I have done this before, but this time I am so blessed to have the company of my sisters in Jesus. Together, daily, we discuss the readings of the day. The Word of God has become so rich this time. The fellowship of believers is a gift from God and should be cherished. I definitely do!
Our reading plan asks us to read a chapter every morning and every evening from the Old Testament and the New. One of the books speaks deeply to my heart. As we read the book of Job, so many things jump out at me.
Job is portrayed by God as a righteous man. Satan came to test Job’s faith, and for reasons we cannot know for sure, God allowed it. While Job loses all his children and possessions in a single day, even his wife takes a stand against Job and tells him to just curse God and die.
As the story unfolds, we first see Job’s three friends come to him and simply sit with him as he mourns. Soon they are cheering him on, but then, when Job can’t seem to shake his grief, it almost seems like his friends are getting tired of his mourning and getting pretty bold with him about it. Basically, they say, “Time to get started now, Job!” As Job continues to ride the roller coaster of grief, we can see that in all of his suffering he remained faithful to the God he loved and served. At the end of Job’s story, it’s so refreshing for me to see that his life began praising God and ends acknowledging that he saw God in all his suffering. In all of this, Job remained faithful.
Last week I had “this call”…the one you don’t want to receive at 5am. My beloved brother has gone home to be with Jesus. My grief is deep, to say the least. My brother and I had always been bonded by our heartstrings. Separated at the age of five, we have always had a beautiful brotherly love for each other. I know without any uncertainty that we know each other’s hearts, thoughts and intentions on a daily basis. We were so in tune with each other that I knew what he would say before he even did. To say his passing is a shock is an understatement. For some reason, too often we live as if our lives will last forever as they are. It’s so sad for me now.
My brother was the one who always pushed me to keep moving forward in my walk of faith. Almost daily for five years, he has encouraged me to keep writing, to keep telling you all about Jesus. He was really the “the wind under my wings”, spiritually speaking. What a blessing!
In the daily relationship we shared, he sent me photos of his flower gardens in his yard, decorated with figurines of angels. He loved flowers, especially the rarest ones. In winter, when there were no fresh flowers to capture, he would send me pictures of flowers he had found during his research. These flowers have just brightened my days. I will miss it.
We shared a love for cast iron. He had a collection that he seemed to be constantly adding to. I, too, have cast iron that I cherish, although I can admit that I don’t take care of mine like he did.
We also enjoyed sharing our love for cooking. Who can’t love having a brother who loves what the world would call “girly things”. He often texted me and said: “What are we eating today, sister?” ». How I enjoyed this interaction with him.
Without going into many details, I would like to say that my brother’s life was not perfectly lived. He struggled in many ways. He had failed in marriages and sometimes struggled with addictions. None of that ever mattered to me. I simply loved him, because I knew his heart and his desire to know love.
As teenagers, we were particularly close, and I laugh now remembering. We had planned to go to Hawaii and start a rock band. He played guitar and I sang. It’s funny, the things children invent, isn’t it? But we were so serious, and because we didn’t live in the same house, he used to hitchhike across the mountain between us, guitar on his shoulder, to see me for a coaching. Once again, how lucky we were to share such a relationship.
Maybe now you’re sick of hearing about my brother. So goes the mourning. Grieving comes in waves. Sharing our grief helps. Although I recognize this stage of grieving, I know there will come a time when sadness will settle deep in my soul, as I carry on through life without my brother’s presence in my daily life. Then, because I’m human, I’ll probably start asking myself, “Why, God? I didn’t want this, and my heart will ache to know why it had to be. What I also know is that after this stage of grieving, I will come to the conclusion that all of life is under God’s control, not mine. I will realize that even in my questions and doubts, He is always trustworthy. He still loves me, even when I don’t understand his ways.
The last request my brother had for me was that he wanted me to write a book so badly. He knew that I had this desire for many years. With a fresh perspective on the prospects of doing this, I decided I would do just that. I took the first step and contacted a publisher. Thank you, my God… and thank you, my brother forever.
Brother forever? Oh yes! When he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, our relationship also took on a sacred meaning. We shared our love for Jesus. It’s interesting to me, and I’m so grateful to know that each of my precious brothers and sisters are disciples of Jesus, even though we grew up hearing that there was no God. Like Job, God knew what he was planning for each of us. Like Job, who said at the end of his story, “I had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you”, so I can see God at work in all of this. God does all things well, even when we don’t see him at the time.
Recently, a northern cardinal came to rest on a bush in front of my window. Fairytale wants it to mean an angel is visiting. My brother often told me about his belief in angels. He would say, “Wait, sister, it’s on its way…my angels told me. » Although I never put much emphasis on it, I believe that yesterday an angel visited me here. I guess there will be many signs along the way, because I treasured my relationship with my brother, and the Lord knows my heart. My dear brother now walks golden streets, holding hands with Jesus, and healed of his sickness here on earth. In my mind, even as I mourn his passing, I can hear him say, “Don’t cry for me sis…I’m healed.” Thank you Jesus, it is!
By writing, I realize that I have made myself vulnerable, but I “wear my heart on my sleeve”. I still have. Dear souls, if you are so blessed to know the love of someone who loves you, supports you, and prays for you, please cherish that. It is rare and sacred. It is a gift from God. Never miss an opportunity to love back, or to be the one to love, when no one else has. The rewards are definitely worth it in the end. My brother never sought fame or glory. He was always my cheerleader. I want to honor him today with this writing. Please pray for me as I embark on a new journey to write the book He wanted me to write. May God be glorified in all of this. Blessings to each of you as you go out into the world and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the downcast, the unlovable, and the forgotten.
To my dear brother, we will meet again in glory. We will sing, even if it will not be rock songs. We will sing praises to our Jesus, the One who so deserves all our praise. Until then, thank you, Lord, for my brother’s gift and all that we have shared here on earth. You are my good, good Father, and I love you. Amen!
Debby Renninger is a freelance writer and inspirational speaker. She hosts a Bible study at her home in McVeytown, where seeking women are always welcome. She can be reached at (717) 250-7086 for speaking engagements.