My Brother Greg 
From My Journal (Circa 1982)

My brother Greg was a beautiful man -tall, broad, strong and having a tremendous sense of humor. But, following his wartime experience in Vietnam (1967) and his return to civilian life, his life's journey was to be long and arduous as he would be caught up in a world of drugs and alcohol and other kinds of worldly abuse. At the time of his death, it would require a great deal of prayer and intercession to pull him  from the mire of this world into the saving realm of heaven. [That is a separate remarkable story in itself not reported here.]

After returning from "Nam" I lost track of Greg for many years as he had moved to California where he ended up living 'on the streets'. During this period, I was also flying in the Naval Reserves and on one occasion mentioned to a senior Navy chief working in maintenance that my brother was "missing in action" and that I would love to know where he was and how he was doing. I then discovered that this chief also worked for the VA and he volunteered to see if the VA had any record of his whereabouts. A number of weeks later when returning to duty as a "Weekend Warrior" he approached me and said that Greg was collecting a small monthly disability payment and he gave me the address to which this payment was being remitted. To my amazement, it turned out that Greg was living living in a rented room at a YMCA in Connecticut. Working with my sister Gail (who lived in Connecticut) I invited Greg to my home in Marblehead, MA and eventually obtained for him Section 8 housing in Beverly, MA where he had a large rented room and kitchen area. He stayed there for many years until his death in 2004. However, he continually ended up in trouble (including a six-month incarceration in NH), and we never knew what was going to happen next.

Then, on one Thanksgiving Day we all attended dinner at the house of one of my brothers-in-law and Greg came along. After the meal, Greg and I decided to go for a walk when Greg presented me with a hedgehog. He reported that he had for the third time been caught dealing drugs and was scheduled for a criminal trial which could land him in prison for a considerable period. It was then, while walking in the cold, and suffering considerable consternation over what I had just heard, that I heard my Angel say audibly: "This too shall pass." Hearing this mystified me, and, while this "word of knowledge" was consoling, I really wondered what it could mean. 

[Note: I understood and believed that this "word of knowledge" was spoken to me by my Guardian Angel as it was not the first time that I had heard his voice.  Ever sense my conversion to Christ at the age of thirty-six my Angel has from time to time guided me in this manner.]

Well, it took about a year to play out, and I remember well being involved with his defense attorney trying to resolve the impossible impasse erected before us. But, my Angel was correct, as the district attorney permitted my brother to act as a witness for the prosecution by identifying the dealer from whom he had purchased the drugs, and he agreed to a reduction in charges in settlement. To my amazement, Greg was only sentenced to a period of probation, and having ducked a sure bullet, never again dealt in drugs, and never again presented us troubling issues outside of his own declining health.

God, to his glory and faithful to his word, proved himself up to the task -which ushered in my own profound prayer of thanksgiving. Yes, on Thanksgiving Day God promised a day of thanksgiving. May he be praised!

There are many lessons to be learned from this event. God knows future events and is concerned with them -even those we might consider mundane. God will work on our behalf, if we pray and seek his help with a sincere and contrite heart. And, God can always bring good out of evil. Even if in this case Greg had been sentenced to jail for a term, I have faith that good would have flowed from it.

Another very significant lesson to be learned from this experience is the fact that general suffering is greatly minimized for a believer who places his or her life -and its purpose and destiny -into the hands of God. Outside of that place of considerable safety and protection, suffering can be greatly expanded, largely due to the exploitative work of Satan and his minions. By this I mean the avoidance of anxiety, fear, confusion and general spiritual darkness, which very often leads to both mental and physical diseases of all kinds.

I know -a tome can be written regarding this spiritual truth, but that is for another day.