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Archive for February 6th, 2020

As I talked to my friend, my heart ached, for they so desired an experience with God, such as Moses and his burning bush.

What this friend desires so much is a beautiful thing, a powerful thing, but God has his own way of interaction and intimacy with his children.

Maybe, as a parent, I understood this better than my friend (who has no children), simply because I know what it is, as a parent, to have similar yet different hopes, and successes, and lives for my three children, because I love my children equally, yet differently.

I could think of no words of wisdom that would penetrate that doubt-filled heart of my friend … then a story began to form in my imagination …

There were two brothers … twins who were so identical that if they were looking at each other they might mistake their brother for a reflection of themselves. Their identical physical appearance could make one imagine that they were alike in every way, but their only other similarity was how they each loved and wanted to worship their God their lives.

When they grew up to adulthood, they both went to Bible school, both determined to give the rest of their lives to serve their God. Initially both were headed to a life in public ministry, both studying theology, public speaking and ensuring that God’s desires for their lives came ahead of their own desires.

After graduating, the first born volunteered to do a two year mission, in a third world nation with great needs, including the needs for clean water, education and spiritual formation. His two years turned into four. During this time he helped raise money (from back home) for a well project to bring clean drinking water to the village, started a school and had converts to Christianity numbered in the hundreds.

When he returned home he was invited to work for an evangelism organization, sharing the Gospel message to people in some of the biggest cities in the world. He wrote books that became best sellers. Everyday there were messages of people who came to know the Lord through his spoken or written word.

Though he did desire to marry and have a family, he never wanted anyone or anything to come between he and his devotion to God’s plan to use him to spread the saving power of God. So he intentionally stayed single, never dating.

Many years later, after a brief illness, he died. At his funeral were dignitaries from around the globe, singing his praises for what he had done on the mission field throughout his life, both abroad in third world countries and in spreading the good news to millions around the world, many of whom accepted the gift of grace that God offers.

Meanwhile, in his final year of university, the second born met a woman, who also loved God. They enjoyed spending time together, love grew between them. They met each other’s families and married soon after graduation.

He had intended to join his brother on the mission field, but his new wife had recently been diagnosed with a chronic disease, requiring treatment that could not be given in a third world country. So, they settled in the town where they graduated, she a school teacher and he, working in the insurance company that her father owned. Over time they had two children and he moved up in the company, eventually taking it over.

They lived a good and happy life together, active in the lives of their children, their community and church. He volunteered in a homeless shelter, was a basketball coach in the local high school. He and his wife, personally, donated and raised the money needed to maintain the school that his brother had begun. He loved his life, his family and community and wouldn’t have traded it for anything, but … especially whenever his brother was in town, he wondered if he had sacrificed enough for God. His brother, who led so many to Christ, whereas he (with his wife) could only remember praying with their children, as they accepted God’s love at young ages.

After a brave battle with cancer, just weeks after his minutes-older brother, he too died. His funeral was in the country church where he and his lifelong love were married and attended. It was attended by family and friends, clients and co-workers, people he had coached in basketball, who had been neighbors.

When the two brothers reached heaven, they found each other, embraced and enjoyed the presence of the other. As they were chatting, Saint Peter approached. “Excuse me, someone told me that the two of you are identical twins. Is that true?”

The brothers looked at each other, one still a reflection of the other, amazed that anyone would have to ask. In unison they replied, “yes, we are twins.”

“You may find it an odd question, but here in heaven we do not see as humans do on Earth. Here, we see the heart, the soul that God created you to be. So, when twins arrive in heaven, we do not see how they are physically similar.”

The brothers pondered a moment, then the younger asked, “Saint Peter, could you tell me if I lived my life as God had created me to live?”

Saint Peter stared at the younger brother. Then he said, “wait here a moment” and disappeared.

Soon after Saint Peter returned, with God himself. “Hello boys, it is so good to see you both,” God said, arms outstretched, inviting the twins into his arms, as a father might do with young children.

As they embraced their Father-God, the Maker and Creator of all things, they felt something that was beyond words. It was love, and acceptance and approval and pride. They felt the very assurance that they had lived their lives in a way that way pleasing to God. Both brothers felt so good in that moment, they both felt they were receiving the pleasure of their God for having lived lives for him.

The younger brother, still somewhat uncertain, looked up at God and asked, “how is it that I could feel that you are as pleased with the life I offered to you as the life my brother offered? He was the one who never allowed himself to marry, to have a family. He was the one who spoke your name around the world, and to millions of people who gave their lives to you. How could my sacrifice be as good?”

God looked, from one brother to the other, smiling at what he could see … beyond the identical outer layer.

“The two of you have been born twice to me, once from your mother’s womb and I breathed the breath of life into your lungs. The second time was when you chose to accept my love and grace, receiving the redemption that only I can give.

I look at you and your brother and see that you both fulfilled the mission I placed in front of you. I do not see numbers of people, I see pure hearts, loving sons, men who each did their best. The two of you are my sons who I love, not for what you have done, but because you are my sons, because you have invited me to be in your lives.”

At this God paused, looking deep into the eyes of this younger twin, “you, my son, have been faithful with what I placed in your life … the people, the opportunities, the resources, the time. Well done, good and faithful servant! Now, come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23)

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—”
Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken

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