July 4, 2021

A Prayer of Thanks for My Brother Seth

Loving Father, thank you for understanding how upset with you I was when you allowed my brother Seth to die of a heart attack last week. Sudden death like that is so hard on the family even though most of us have said that is the way we would like to depart this life.

Seth’s death was such a shock to me and my sisters, and even more shocking to his wife Pearl and their children. But you know that because you made us to see life as very precious. You know the pain we feel when our loved ones pass away, and it comforts me to believe that you hurt with us when death invades our ranks. I realize also that the length of our days is in your hands and not ours. As my friend Ken reminded me, if it were left up to us, Moses would still be alive. Death reminds us that you are the Sovereign God of the universe.  

I thank you for being “with us” as we slowly embraced the reality that Seth’s life on earth was over. Your loving Presence helped us move from shock to gratitude. And that’s the purpose of this prayer – I want to thank you for giving us Seth for almost 78 years. He had qualities we admired and we know you helped him become the honorable man that he was.

Thank you for helping Seth to become a good man. I know we are all selfish and focused on ourselves until Jesus changes us, so I thank you for changing Seth. You really did a number on Seth because the one thing everybody has said to me since Seth died is this: “Your brother was a good man.” I know Seth’s goodness sprang from his conviction that you have put your people in this world to do “good works” as servants of Jesus. So I am thankful, Lord, that what was said about your Son Jesus can be said about my brother, “he went about doing good.”

Thank you for Seth’s smile. All who knew him will never forget his smile. Somehow, he never learned to frown. But I hesitate to tell you that, Lord, because you gave him that smile when you put the joy of his salvation in his heart. Your servant, Saint Paul, said, “Rejoice, and again I say, rejoice!” And if anyone ever took Paul seriously, it was my brother Seth. His disarming smile blessed everyone whose life he touched.  As I live out the rest of my days, Lord, please help me to follow my brother’s example and lay a smile on everybody I meet.

Thank you for inspiring Seth to say “Thank you” so much. You teach us in your Holy Word to let “giving thanks” become our way of life. Seth did that and did it so well that we admired him for the way his daily life was characterized by gratitude for every kindness extended to him.

Thank you for giving Seth the strength to work hard all his life. I know our Daddy inspired a strong work ethic in all his children but you gave Seth the desire to stay with the work until the job was done. And in all the years of supplying farmers with seed and fertilizer, Seth was making friends and encouraging people with his contagious smile.

Thank you for the bond of love you gave me with my brother, Lord. We were not always the brothers we should have been but one day you reconciled us to yourself and to each other, and from then on we were as close as the bark on a tree. You made that happen, Lord. You gave me a love for Seth that amazed me, and you gave Seth a love for me that blessed me beyond my deserving.

I loved kidding Seth by telling others that Seth was my little brother. And he was, being 11 years younger than me. But in Seth’s presence, I was the little one for he towered over me. It thrilled me when he would put his arm around me and tell me my sermons had blessed him. It thrilled me even more that for the past 20 years, we never left each other’s company without saying and hearing the words, “I love you.” Thank you Lord for the way you inspired my brother to look past my flaws and love me unconditionally.

Our Daddy had two sons. One, being me, preached the gospel. The other, being Seth, practiced the gospel. In that sense we were both “ministers” of Christ, and for that I cannot thank you enough, Lord.

I wish you had let him live with us a little longer, Lord, but knowing I need to do it, I surrender to your will. Help me. Help Pearl. Help their children. Help our family. Help us all to accept your will, give thanks for Seth’s life and move on to live life to the fullest until you call us home. You know we can’t do it without your help.

We all remember that whenever we parted company, Seth would have the last word and it was this invitation: “Y’all come see us.” Now that Seth is in heaven with you, Lord, give me, give us all, the faith to hear Seth saying, “Y’all come see us.” And help us live so that one day we may see Seth again as we accept his invitation and yours to find our place in your eternal home.

Thank you, Loving Father, for Seth, my brother, your servant and a friend to all who knew him. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. + + +