My Brother’s Keeper

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your doing, this is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8



“Mommy, I’m not going to college.” This is what my then 5 year old daughter says to me out of the blue one night while brushing her hair. 

“Hayley, sure you are. What would make you say that?”

Her response: “Because I can’t leave Hunter. He needs me.”

This little girl, the one who bickers with, hits, and calls her brother “annoying” doesn’t want to leave him?

“Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God” Ruth 1:16.

This innocent conversation takes me back many years to another innocent conversation between my 16 year old self and my father. Just like Hayley did months ago, I told my father, “I can’t go away to college. He needs me.” See, I couldn’t leave my brother either. I could not bear to leave him alone. That innocent 16 year old, thought she could save her brother from continuing to make poor decisions, save him from the hurts of growing up, and protect him from the things that he allowed his mind and heart to crave.

Without me to guide him, protect him, and keep him safe, then who would?

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” Deuteronomy 31:8.

Now, 19 years later, I am finishing college in a small town I never left, and while my brother finishes out a jail sentence because of those same “poor” choices, I still wish to keep my brother safe from harm. I still want to “protect” him, and I know he still “needs” his big sister, just as Hayley thinks Hunter “needs” his big sister. I also know something else I did not know 19 years ago when I vowed to my Dad that I would not leave my brother: I cannot save him from poor choices-only God can do that! I can’t recuse him from the life he has been dealt. God will do that.

And this is a promise I hold onto, a prayer I utter to Him each and every day-that God will protect my brother, that God will save him from poor choices, and that God will guide him in the way of righteousness. 

I know even with the reassurance of God’s safety and protection, my brother and I will always need each other, and I remind my children of this every time they fight and argue, and I warn them that one day they won’t be close enough to simply reach out and hug each other, or comfort each other.

But God does this for us. God steps in and does the touching and the comforting for us. He reaches out to save, to protect, to guide. He is my brother’s keeper, and He will be the one to hopefully, one day soon, bring His prodigal son home.


3 responses to “My Brother’s Keeper”

  1. Wonderful story January. Special prayers to your brother. Have felt your pain.

  2. […] you. I applied to college much like you will in a few short months, and I got accepted into a few, but I couldn’t go. I had to make tough choices. Again, I don’t want this for you. So, yes. I get the pressure, […]

  3. Reblogged this on Coffee with a Shot of Faith and commented:

    Reposting an “oldie” in honor of my little brother’s birthday! There is not a day that does not go by that I don’t miss and pray for my first best friend, but patiently wait for the day he will be home.

    Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him. And blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side, and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face. ~St Francis of Assisi

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