The air was fresh. The leaves on the giant cottonwood trees were rustling with the breeze. My sister, brother and I were sitting at a picnic table at the botanic garden.
We had fresh apple cider and hamburgers. We enjoyed our lunch as we absorbed the joy of nature. We watched a blue heron standing in a nearby pond. I felt blessed with this interlude of rest from stressful thoughts.
My brother’s health is declining and as his guardian I have been asked to look into possible care situations. For a time the weight of concern was lifted.
My brother has a mental illness and his thoughts about God, about relationships, is tangled up. He has had a difficult life. But I believe that God loves him and can heal his emotional wounds.
My attempts to share my faith with him have varied responses. I feel like I am stumbling along. Conversations with my brother can be calm or erupt suddenly in an angry outburst. During one visit to his group home I asked if he reads his Bible.
He said, “No.”
I said, “The Bible is God’s love letter to us.”
He scowled and yelled, “It is not!” Then he stared at me daring me to say any more. I retreated—for the time being.
But on this day, after spending time in nature, he responded differently. On the way home, in the car, I asked my brother, “What do you think about Jesus?”
His answer came quickly, “He was the most hated man.”
Then I asked, “Why did he come to earth?”
After a long pause my brother said, “I don’t know.”
I said, “I think he came to show us God’s love.”
This time there was no angry outburst, only thoughtful silence.
I want the Bible to infuse my daily life and my conversations. God’s word is the source of our hope. I am still learning about putting this in practice. In the book of Romans the apostle Paul writes:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1: 16
Prayer: Lord God, thank-you for your Word and the example Paul sets for us. As I trust you day by day, may I be a witness of the Gospel.
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