"And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead." - Hebrews 11:4b

I am one of five, four brothers and one sister. Here's a picture of three of the brothers. Yes, I am the little guy sitting on the crossbar of my oldest brother's bike.  Jerry was thoughtful enough to provide me with a blanket to sit on. It was probably my na-na.

None-the-less, I want to talk about Marshall, the brother in the forefront. Marshall is a very important person to me. Marshall led me to my first concepts of God and in a way . . . he led me to Jesus when I was seven years old. That doesn't sound too strange until I tell that Marshall died when I was just under two years of age. He was almost five when he died. Yes, I did say he led me to Jesus when I was seven.

You see, through the years, I visited Marshall's grave many times with my bereaved mother. One time I started asking myself questions about eternity. Where was Marshall? And the bigger question for a seven year old - Where will I be when I die? Talk about coming face to face with death.

I grew up in a house of grief and I seem to understand the verse that says, "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure." Was I wise at such a young age? I don't know, but I am thankful for the questions I struggled with at my brother's graveside. Why? Because the redemptive value in my brother's death was the very fact that through my brother my heart was touched in such a way that made me ask the hard questions.  The answers would change my life forever. Was death the end?

Thank God my mother took me to church. One day my Sunday School teacher (Thank God for SS teachers!) told the class of boys about Jesus and eternal life. This was the information that I was looking for - talk about good news. This was the gospel! God's gospel for me! This is what Marshall was showing me. You see, he led me to this point as the destination of all those countless times I visited his grave and stared down at his grave marker with so many deep questions. Marshall, though he was dead, spoke to my heart and led me to my Savior and Lord.

Is there redemptive value in the death of a child? I have to say yes. God works with us in all situations to bring good - even in a situation like Marshall's.

Oh, my dear brother, I had to say goodbye before I even said hello! Marshall, how sweet the reunion will be!