My Brother I Never Knew But Will See in Heaven
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
He was born prematurely and died within a week.
The brother I never knew died on the date I’m publishing this article: July 2, in the year 1959. I was just a little over four years old at the time. I never met or saw Scott. But I’m looking forward to doing so in heaven.
This is the official death record for my brother Scott who died within a week of birth.
What do I know or remember about this brother I never knew? Not much at all. However, two things stand out in my memory about Scott and the events surrounding his passing:
First, Scott in his casket in the trunk of our family’s car. Seriously. My parents got permission to transport him in his tiny casket to Northern Michigan where Scott was buried in the family plot near Rudyard, where my grandparents lived. How could I forget that, even though only four years old!
I remember trying to console my mom, saying “But you told me that Jesus will make everything OK, didn’t you mom?” She tearfully responded “yes” but my four-year-old mind didn’t understand everything—only that mommy was very sad.
Of course, mom (and dad) recovered and healed over time. And the effect on me? Well, please let me tell you about that:
Two lessons I learned from the death of the brother I never knew:
A lot of people think that it doesn’t matter what someone believes, or that everyone is saved, or that many paths lead to heaven.
Much of the time their beliefs are based merely on wishful thinking. But that’s not a solid foundation to stake your eternity on!
Recently I’ve been reading a wonderful book by Lee Strobel called The Case for Grace. In it, Strobel recounts a conversation with Dr. Craig James Hazen, author and currently a professor at both Carolyn’s and my alma mater, Biola University.
Hazen makes a summary statement on page 85 that caught my attention: “So Christianity is different, first, because of grace; second, because it’s testable; and third, because it paints a picture that matches the way the world is, in a way that other religions don’t.”
His points are well worth a short summary. Hazen points out that Christianity is unique and reassuring because of:
A. Grace vs. Works
All other religious systems are “works” based—if you do enough good, you hope to attain heaven-worthiness. The problem is that no one ever knows if they’ve done enough “good deeds” to earn heaven. No one ever has true assurance.
In contrast, in the Gospel we read that “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NLT)
I love those last four words of promise that “you will be saved.” It’s a rock solid promise of God.
B. The Bible is Testable
His point here is that Christianity is proven by the study of the factual evidence for Christianity. There is not enough evidence to “force” someone to believe, but for the honest inquirer, there is enough evidence for belief in the message of Christ.
This is in contrast to religions such as Islam. Hazen recalls talking with Muslims who, when presented with evidence about the biblical Jesus as opposed to the Koran’s representation of Him, respond that evidence doesn’t matter, only the Koran is truth. He writes:
“I’ll insist that we talk about the evidence — the best historical data about Jesus — but again they’ll say I’m missing the point: the Qur’an is the Word of Allah. You see, for them everything stops with that assertion — there are no arguments, nor is there any evidence that can possibly count against it.” (p. 85).
On the other hand, the Bible is verifiable in so many ways. I have suggestions for some great apologetics websites in my Recommended Resources page.
C. Christianity Matches Reality
Regarding the issue of reality, Strobel asked Hazen for an illustration, and he responded:
“Sure — consider the problem of evil, pain, and suffering. Christians approach this by affirming that these are real and explaining that Christianity offers a cogent explanation for their existence. If you move into Eastern religious traditions, almost every one of them renames evil, pain, and suffering as maya, or illusion.” (pp. 85-86).
Why do I have this hope?
For brother I never knew (Scott), the Bible indicates that there is hope of heaven for those children who die prior to the ability to understand and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Most Bible students believe there is an “age of accountability” that a person must reach before they’re held responsible for receiving salvation. Often it is thought to be age 13 because Jews considered that a child becomes an adult at age 13. However, the age likely varies with each individual. For me, it was at about the same time Scott died, that I professed faith in Christ in a Sunday School class when I was about four years old.
So, regarding the brother I never knew but will see in heaven, I have a confidence based on solid evidence that I will meet him there.
How about you? Have you received this free gift of salvation? To do so, please go HERE to learn how and do so now.
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