Brothers Born For Adversity


“An old Jewish legend tells of two brothers, Abram and Zimri, who owned a field and worked it together. They agreed to divide both the labor and the harvest equally. One night as the harvest came to a close, Zimri could not sleep, for it didn’t seem right that Abram, who had a wife and seven sons to feed, should receive only half of the harvest, while he, with only himself to support, had so much.

So Zimri dressed and quietly went into the field, where he took a third of his harvest and put it in his brother’s pile. He then returned to his bed, satisfied that he had done the right thing.

Meanwhile, Abram could not sleep either. He thought of his poor brother, Zimri, who was all alone, and had no sons to help him with the work. It did not seem right that Zimri, who worked so hard by himself, should get only half of the harvest. Surely this was not pleasing to God. And so Abram quietly went to the fields, where he took a third of his harvest and placed it in the pile of his beloved brother.

The next morning, the brothers went to the field and were both astonished that the piles still looked to be the same size. That night both brothers slipped out of their houses to repeat their efforts of the previous night. But this time they discovered each other, and when they did, they wept and embraced. Neither could speak, for their hearts were overcome with love and gratitude”. (“You Are My Hands”, Dieter F. Uchtdorf , April 2010 GC).

All of us have times in our lives that become challenging and having the support of your family is of great comfort. A number of years ago, I, along with a number of my siblings, were able to go with my terminally ill brother to the Huntsman Cancer Center when he started his chemotherapy treatments.  I thought how scary it would be to enter the unknown. Being alone would make things much worse. But with loved ones by your side, I would think that things would seem more manageable and not so intimidating. As we took time to eat in the hospital cafeteria together he told us of his love for us and cried tears of gratitude for having loving brothers and sisters who would rally around him. Later, one of my other brothers related to me that he had a short time with this ill brother as the nurse prepared him for his cancer treatment.  “I don’t think you know how much I love you!”  he told my ill brother.  My dying brother replied, “Yes I do because I have the same love for you!”  The family unit is eternal. We need to be kind and forgiving of each other. There will never be another who can take the place of a brother or sister.

I miss my brother! I take great comfort in knowing that he left this world knowing that his siblings loved him!  I can’t recall a harsh word spoken between us! I don’t recall anything but encouraging words spoken by him to me or to my siblings. What a wonderful thing it is to have such relationships. We need to nurture them! Let us hold our tongue when we feel tempted to be critical. It can do nothing but harm. Let us be supportive and kind. We are more likely to be able to help our siblings if they know our concern comes from love, rather than judgment. Heaven knows I am lacking in many things but I am grateful that my siblings have always looked for and rejoiced in my few gifts.

Over my lifetime, I have encountered so many families that are critical of each other. They are jealous of each other. They look for ways to be offended. We can look to be “offended” if we so desire. But it is of no value. We need to keep close to each other and rejoice in each others accomplishments.

In the book of Proverbs we read that “… a brother is born for adversity.” (17:17) Indeed! During times of adversity, there is nothing quite like the support that can come from a brother or a sister. Let us be…brothers born for adversity!

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