This week has been and continues to be one of the most difficult. It began with discovering that my brother, Rafael is in a fight for his life with swelling in his brain. Please pray with me that he recovers quickly and fully despite the doctor’s report stating it is not at all likely.
During this ordeal, a friend of mine, a Worship Pastor, Brandon Adkins for Torch Church had been praying and writing worship music and sent me an initial recording of a song, that inspired this photographic depiction of the view from my brother’s hospital room at Rush Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago, Il.
Listen to his song here: “God You Reign” by Pastor Brandon Adkins
He entitled it, “God You Reign.”
I have been blessed with peace that the world doesn’t understand through it all. As I look into the face of my little brother and see a shell of the man I knew, I can’t help but see the passion inside that’s been buried for so long, even since before his tragedy. I can’t help but hear silent screams pouring out of his thick, slowly creeping tears. He lies unconscious, but I see a lion roaring for release from his cage.
My older brother, Kahlil, prophesied at least a year ago, that despite Rafael’s dark place in life, troubled past, and seemingly bleak future, that he would be “better” than both of us. At the time I simply looked at him, smiled and nodded, but inside arrogance slowly swelled saying, “Well He’s got a long way to go to catch up with what God has done in me.”
Really? I mean I was attaching God’s work in my life as a credit to me, a line on MY resume. I thought, “Oh Kahlil, if only you saw yourself as God does. You must clearly count yourself less than you should.” As I type this it strikes me that as the older brother, his quiet maturity shone through his words.
God said it best through Paul…
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3
I say this to say that God worked powerfully in my life, taking me from a wreckage of a life, with infidelity, marijuana abuse, losing two jobs due to poor judgment and incompetence to being one of the Associate Pastors of a church family, a blessing of a baby on the way, a new home that was gifted to us, and a family that I do not deserve who love and support me.
At the same time, He resurrected my brother from an even longer string of mistakes and brought him from a wild, head-strong youth, to the strong, quiet leader he is today, with most of all a humility I have NEVER seen before except when I imagine Jesus himself.
It is the same God who has worked these and other miraculous life transformations that reigns over Rafael’s life. Kahlil saw that and spoke life into that future when the past and present were so dark.
I stand firm in believing those words to be true. Rafael will be greater than us both. God’s glory shines brightest in the darkest of places. Rafael’s valley cannot get much deeper and darker right now, but this is the dark before the dawn. I can’t wait to write of his recovery and praise God for what HE has done, is doing, and will continue doing…Seeking and Saving the lost.
To God be the Glory. HE REIGNS!