“My Brother is Dying”
As I shared at the end of my personal salvation story last month, it was when I heard that my brother was dying of leukemia that the salvation of my loved ones became all too real. Again, I knew that confronting him with the very popular but pertinent question, “Do you know where you’ll go when you die?” could certainly shake him up, yet, I had already spoken to the Lord about this. I asked Him to simply keep my brother alive, long enough, so he could experience Him as His Savior. I told Him I would let my brother go as long as I knew I’d see him again in heaven.
The type of Leukemia my brother had was significant because being a PreMed student at one time, it led me to search to know more about it, and shook me up even more—because it confirmed what I had heard already.
The type of leukemia my brother had, gave its victim only ONE remission due to its quick and powerful aggressiveness. And also due to how quickly it took its victims, there was very little they knew about this form of cancer. Most of these patients died and only later they found it was (this type of) Leukemia.
Yet I knew the Lord was faithful. I hadn’t yet discovered the promise, “They replied, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, and your entire household.’” Acts 16:31 TLB
Yet, since the Lord had been my Best Friend while I was growing up, and later became my Lord just before my husband left me, I sensed His faithfulness in this desire to see my brother saved before he died. What He led me to do first, was to focus on the possibility of him living. This led to many members of our family giving blood, but what led to me some serious health issues, showing up in my losing most of my own hair.
My brother was diagnosed only a few weeks after my 3rd son, Easton was born. [And not that this is of any real significance, but Easton, and later my daughter Tyler, were both born on my brother's birthday! Sadly, my brother believed this was a sign of his impending death having his nephew replacing him.]
When I was tested, my blood type was a perfect match, so I began donating blood for my brother to survive. About two weeks into donating blood, large clumps of my hair began to fall out, but as always, He works things out for good. The doctor said I’d lose all my hair (and of course, ordered that I no longer give blood), and suggested to save what I had left, that I cut my waist-length hair.
The favor of God kicked in when a local celebrity hairdresser heard about my story (God knows how), and set up a private appointment with me. He came in while one of his salons was closed to carefully brush out my hair (so no more would fall out), braid it, and then cut it off, when it fell to my shoulders. Honestly, this new hairstyle changed how I looked, and truthfully it was the best I had looked in years! But let’s get back to my brother…
Wanting to live for his three young sons, my brother flew to a variety of cities across the country begging for a bone marrow transplant. At the time, in 1985, bone marrow transplants were only successful in children and young adults. My brother, they said, was too old. Then one day after he had exhausted all the cancer treatment hospitals, he got an unexpected call from UCLA Medical Center and they asked if he was still in remission, and was still interested in trying, they’d perform his bone marrow transplant. The two doctors had just come back from helping with the Chernobyl Disaster and discovered ways of preventing the normal bone marrow rejection process. Today, of course, we have moved far beyond this and transplants are becoming much more common.
It was my older sister who gave her bone marrow, and as we had all hoped and prayed, my brother survived the transplant and was told he was cancer-free about a year later.
Yet, here is the truth. My brother has been the only survivor of this form of cancer for decades! And due to this, each year UCLA celebrates a “birthday” party for him. It’s because, it was NOT the doctors (as brilliant as they were/are), nor the treatment he received, it was due to GOD healing my brother!! And not just healing his body, but healing his soul.
As I said, I never confronted my brother or even made it a point to share anything about my relationship with the Lord. I spoke of the Lord often as I always do, as a close friend and it’s always been part of my conversations with my brothers and everyone I speak to. But I never spoke to him in any religious or typical “witnessing” manner. Instead, the Lord told me to simply TRUST HIM, that salvation is His, which I have come to understand is something He doesn’t really “need” our help with, but what He “lets” us help with.
"You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf . . . Do not fear or be dismayed . . . the Lord is with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17
An easy way to explain this is when I used to ask my younger children to “help” me make my bed. They would get on one side and do very little to “help.” Then we’d switch sides and I’d fix it up, praising them! They’d beam because they’d “helped” mommy, but it was far from “helpful.”
In fact, He didn’t use me at all.
My brother often called long-distance to tell me how he was doing, and on one occasion began sharing about the profound change in his middle son. This was the son who was trouble from birth BUT who was completely transformed into a totally different person the moment he got “saved.” Each time my brother would call and talk about specific changes in my nephew, I sensed my brother was so close to wanting to know Him too. Yet, I knew better than to say anything. Instead, I knew the Lord wanted me to sit back, trust Him and watch. A couple of times I listened and spoke about my own relationship with the Lord, again just because that’s who I am and what He is in my life and the way I’ve always been. Yet, I never confronted or spoke directly to my brother about his salvation because, as with many older brothers, I knew he’d probably try to debate with me.
Then one day I just KNEW it had happened, and because I was so excited, I stupidly began to ramble on with insignificant chatter, when my brother cut in and said, “If you’d be quiet for a second, I’d like to tell you something!” I shut my mouth, but then it dropped in awe! I heard my brother tell me that he had asked the Lord to come into his life, to make him new and that NOW the Lord was everything to him!!!
At that exact moment, is when I personally believe my brother was also healed from an incurable form of leukemia. There is really no other explanation!
Yes, my brother had a bone transplant and a lot of other surgeries due to his leukemia treatments—side effects of his treatment, not his leukemia.
Today, more than 37 YEARS later my brother is still alive!! And, even though he is still attending his annual birthday party at UCLA, since he still is the lone survivor, I believe it proves it was GOD who healed his soul and body!!
As I end, remember, what it says in 2 Corinthians 3:2, KJV “Ye are our epistles written in our hearts, known and read of all men.”
“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men.” 2 Corinthians 3:2
* Which means, witnessing is your life being an epistle or an open book that everyone is reading who sees the life you are living—I hope and pray it is the Abundant Life you are living!!
Epistles in Greek is Epistello, which means to "send one a message, to write instructions." Our lives should be sending a message to show how to live in peace and joy “smiling at the future” because of who we are living today and our future with!
My family has been witnessing my life, and how He’s written in it so beautifully. Yes, traveling through many trials, but always remaining at peace in the midst. As I said, I have never once confronted anyone (family, friend, or a stranger about their salvation), but have been blessed to simply watch His salvation unfold while I stood by in awe—having a front-row seat to His majesty! I urge you to stop worrying or trying to get your family “saved” and simply BELIEVE this promise for your family! Without having any more stress will allow you the freedom to just LOVE them and this will do more to have them "want what you have" and what will result in them asking you to show them the way to knowing Him too!
Read this again and again until it's safely hidden in your heart. “They replied, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, and your entire household.’” Acts 16:31 TLB
And remember, it’s nothing WE do, but what He has done!!
“Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today..." Exodus 14:13
You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf . . . Do not fear or be dismayed . . . the Lord is with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17
I personally love to station myself in the front row with a huge smile on my face in anticipation for what I KNOW He's about to do...will you join me?