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Published on October 26th, 2012 | by Nathaniel

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My Brother Was Never Mine

Have you ever lost someone? What emotions come over you on their birthday? Today would have been my oldest brother’s 36th birthday. I don’t know what it is about African culture- but birthdays aren’t given as much weight as they are here in the States. In Ghana, it’s not uncommon for some people to forget their actual birth date- they’ll remember the day of the week they were born, but sometimes not the day. Not trying to throw my mom under the school bus, but she even forgot my birthday three years in a row when I was younger (she remembers now…after a torrent of temper tantrums). Since my family was never very big on birthdays, my form of rebellion was making a big deal out of them. Whether it was midnight calls, obnoxious singing, or unexpected surprises, I loved celebrating birthdays.  I looked forward to getting my nephew a new Spiderman action figure, or my niece a Beiber CD, or my brothers new shirts.  Even though Kobby is no longer here, I guess I still have the urge to give him something- to remember his birthday some way. When you lose someone, you don’t just lose them for that moment, you lose them forever. And the recognition that I’ll never have the chance to celebrate a birthday with him is hard.

As I sift through old photos- beach trips, his graduation, his wedding day- I can’t help but feel a little angry. Hurt. Confused. I was there when he was navigating through the trials- going to school, working two jobs, and awaiting God to bless him with a wife. It wasn’t easy but he worked hard and God was starting to make a return on his efforts.  I look at his beautiful wife, their 11 year-old son, and now 1 year old son and question why he was taken away when his blessings were just starting to unfold. In my conversations with God- I inquired repeatedly why/how this could happen. It made no sense. What started out as a one-way conversation soon manifested into dialogue.  God blessed me with a revelation- the same revelation I had told my brother, David, when we were coping. This is a hard concept to accept- but it is necessary for the Believer and intended to be an encouragement during the coping process:

We do NOT belong to each other. As much as I loved my brother, as much as I love my dad, my mom, my sisters, and so on- they do not belong to me. He was created by God for God’s purpose. While, we impact the lives around us and are inextricably linked in meaningful relationships with each other, we don’t belong to each other. Before Kobby was my brother, he was God’s son. In Jeremiah 1:5, God says “I knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. Before you were born, I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” God had a purpose for Kobby’s life- a purpose that was not revealed to me. It would be selfish to think he was born just to be my brother. Nowhere in the bible does it say we belong to each other. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my brother more than I could ever express in words- but I am comforted in knowing that God allowed his life to be enriched with purpose. Romans 14:8 “If we live, we live to honor the Lord; and if we die, we die to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

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