A million stories—many of them true—come from people who go on safari into the jungles of Africa. One man said that a part of his trip was to be a controlled lion hunt, to rid the area of a maverick man-killing lion. As the hunting party was making preparations to move out into the jungle, the head guide, a member of the Kudu tribe, came to the hunter and informed him that they could not go hunting that day. When the hunter asked why, the guide said, “Because my brother is sick and cannot go with us.” The hunter, very disappointed that he would miss the opportunity for an exciting hunt, suggested that they replace the sick brother with another experienced hunter from the tribe.
The guide shook his head and said, “That would not be wise. You never take anyone but a brother on a lion hunt. Lions are dangerous, and when one charges at you, you need someone by your side who can be trusted to stand and face the lion’s charge with you. Your brother values your life as he does his own, because he is your brother. No one else can be trusted to that level.”
I doubt that I will ever face a charging lion. But there are times when I need the kind of support that only a brother can provide. I grew up as the youngest of four boys in my family, and there were many times that I relied on my big brothers to help me out of a jam of some kind. Usually, it was something that I had gotten myself into that I could not get myself out of. That happened more times than I care to remember!
As I grew older, I learned how to avoid the most dangerous problems of life, and have been able to stay alive so far. Many of the difficulties that I thought were life-threatening turned out to be not so bad after all. Most of it was just my own immaturity. As I grew older, I think I also grew wiser.
All of my brothers are dead now, and I am fully on my own. There is no longer a big brother around to pull me out of a jam. But, I have learned that I have a Big Brother who loves me even more than my earthly brothers did . . . a Big Brother who is able to save not only my life, but my soul, as well. As a Christian, I have been adopted by God to share a place in His Holy Family, and have become His child. That makes me the brother of Jesus, with all of the joys and privileges that go with that relationship. With Him by my side, I can face charging lions and worse, fully confident that He will remain faithfully with me, until the danger is past.
In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, chapter 18, verse 24, Solomon has written, “A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”
For me, that friend is Jesus Christ. I am confident that He will stick to me closer than all my brothers did, because Jesus will help me to reach that place where there is no death or suffering; where no one will ever feel pain or sorrow again; where there are no tears and no grief.
It’s easy to become discouraged when we think we are alone in our problems. In reality, we are never alone, even when we think we are. God has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” He said this to Joshua, to encourage him to lead the Israelites over the Jordan, to complete their journey into the promised Land. In the Old Testament book of Joshua, chapter one, verse 5, we can read God’s words. “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” Later, in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul will refer to this ancient Scripture when he writes to the Hebrew children. In the book of Hebrews, chapter13, verses five and six, we can read Paul’s encouragement to the Jewish community, possibly in Rome. Paul wrote, starting in verse five, “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for God Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you, so that we confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”
Jesus gives us the same comfort, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 10, verse 28, where Jesus is saying to His twelve Apostles, and to us, “Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.”
Jesus tells us that He will never leave us and we have nothing to fear. That comforting knowledge should enable me to face even charging lions with the confidence that God, my Father, and Jesus my Brother will help me out of any problem I face.
This is Dick Brackett, inviting you to write to us at Radio Station KNLS, Anchor Point, Alaska 99556, USA.