A phone call at night woke me. “Would you like for me to drive you over to Seth’s home?” It was Amy, my son Steve’s wife, calling. “Why?” I asked. “Your brother is dead,” she said. 

I could not believe what I was hearing. But it was true. Quite unexpectedly, my only brother, 11 years younger, had died of a heart attack. Amy and I joined other family members already at his home, to share the shock that had engulfed Seth’s grieving wife Pearl and their children. 

Two years have come and gone since that night. Seth’s passing added to the grief I was enduring over the death of my wife six months earlier. Seth had become so dear to me since I retired. Until then we had not been close. 

We had not been estranged. Age difference had separated us. By the time Seth started school, I was in college. Seth lived his entire life in Elmore County while I was living in other places, sometimes other states. When I retired and came back home, he and I began building the relationship we had neglected for half a century. We discovered we liked each other. In his kindness God united our hearts in a bond of love that was precious to me. I became fond of saying that Seth and I were as close as the bark on a tree.

When I began serving as a pastor in Saint James Church in Montgomery, Seth and Pearl joined us there and became faithful members. Seth joined the choir and was soon taking a turn offering prayer in worship. I was surprised and delighted; my brother could sing and pray. 

Even more important I learned, after his death, that he had been quietly serving God in ways I knew nothing about. Corine Free, the gifted pianist for our choir, shared with me my brother’s love and kindness for children in the Montgomery Public School where she taught. 

Seth sang in the choir for 16 years and Corine said, “Every year, I mean every year, Seth gave me money to purchase classroom supplies. I never asked him for assistance. After his first gift, I did not expect him to do it again. But he did, and he kept doing it. He was a blessing each time, my classroom angel for many years.”

Then Corine paid me a compliment I did not deserve. She said, “Thank you, Walter, for bringing your brother into my life.” I know what she meant and I was grateful for her kind words. But I realized immediately that I could not accept any praise for bringing Seth into her life. God did that. God put Seth in her life just as He put Seth in my life. That’s what God does. He loves us so much that He puts special people in our lives to bless us. And He put Corine in my life, and in Seth’s life, to bless both of us. 

As I reminisce and praise God for the gift of my brother’s love, I am also thanking God for all the other wonderful people He has put in my life. Their names and faces are so precious to me. His Son, Jesus, the greatest of them all. How marvelous is Our Father’s love for His children.