It was my brother's birthday a few days ago. He's twenty years old now, and once more there is so much perspective in a year. This time last year he'd been in jail for something like ten months. We wrote letters to one another, sometimes just talking about things we remembered. He liked me to write him stories so sometimes I did that. I've written before that in some ways we really got to know each other through those letters, got really close.
How do you thank God in something like this? How do you say, thank you for the fact that he was homeless, used cardboard as a blanket, was in jail for a year? And yet, in some ways, my brother is not the person he was before all that. Leaving him in that mess to come here when all I wanted to do was fix things for him, take care of him, was the hardest part of leaving. But Josh is a constant reminder of God's faithfulness: he loves and has taken care of my brother much better than I will ever be able to, just like he promised. You thank him because he's sovereign. And infinitely good. And when you step back, look at him instead of all the junk, you see this and you see him up to his ears in it, a God who put on skin and lived it all like we do.
I read Habakkuk today, and there's this (3:17-18):
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior."
This year we got to talk on Skype which is just about the best invention ever. In a week or two he'll graduate from high school. In the fall he starts college. I got him some books for his birthday and he told me he was rereading them (yay he's a rereader like me!), that he liked to because, having read them the first time in jail, in reminded him of where he'd come through, where he won't be going back.
So this is for all of you who prayed with me for him. This is to say: look what God did! Look at my brother. Thank you for that.