by Daniel H

I received permission from my brother to share a little piece of his life for the sake of encouraging others who may be questioning why God has them, or a loved one, on a path that seems uncertain.

My brother and I have always been fairly close. For the most part, we grew up sharing common interests. I always kind of figured God would direct our lives in fairly similar ways. I assumed we would both go to college, major in some kind of field that would lead us not too far from home, meet “the one,” get married, have kids, and settle down, making our proud parents proud grandparents. My assumptions were all the more solidified when my brother graduated from high school and began to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio with a major in architecture. It seemed as though everything was going as “planned.” So, you can imagine my surprise – and that of my family’s – when one day John came home and announced that he wanted to join the military – specifically, the United States Marine Corps.

What? That wasn’t right. There’s no way my brother would put his life under the control of the government and serve his country in the armed forces. That wasn’t on the checklist of life. (I checked again, just to be sure.) Yep. It definitely wasn’t there.
(At this point, I feel I should note that I have the utmost respect for anyone who serves and/or gives his or her life in service of our country. All I am saying is that I never expected anyone in my family to choose that path, and it came as a great shock.)

Well, he meant it. And off he went, though not directly into the U.S. Marine Corps. He transferred from UTSA to Texas A&M and went through the Corps of Cadets program they have there. As time passed, I still couldn’t believe what my brother was doing. Obviously, I was tremendously proud of him, but from the moment he made his announcement, I had begun to think the worst. When he was done at A&M, what if he were to be stationed halfway across the world? What if he were to receive a life-changing injury in combat? … What if he were to be killed serving our country? Again, yes, obviously I was tremendously proud of my brother for his decision to serve our country, but I still couldn’t help but think these things. All the while, God was in control.

At the time, I didn’t realize why God had taken John to A&M and set him on a path to becoming an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. And four years later, I did not understand why John did not make the final cut of the officer selection, ending any hopes of joining the U.S. Marine Corps as an officer. I thought at the time (as I know he thought), “But, Lord, wasn’t that the whole point of the last four years?” You see, on top of being proud of my brother, I had finally come to terms with the idea of him being a U.S. Marine officer. And now that wasn’t going to happen? It didn’t make any sense. “Why, God?” John asked. “Why, God?” his family asked.

Today, however, it seems apparent that God had him spend some time in Aggieland simply because John needed to meet the woman who would change his life forever, and he wasn’t going to meet her in San Antonio. For during his time spent at A&M, my brother met the woman who would later become his wife. How did they meet? What’s their story? Well, that’s not the point of this. The point of this is that although John gave four years of his life training to become an officer in the Marine Corps, in the end, it was not in God’s plan for him to become one. His family painfully watched as he spent that brief time questioning the previous four years of his life and hard work, wondering what he would do going forward. John knew his future was in God’s hands, and he readied his saddle and got back up on his horse. Today, he is serving his country in the United States Army Reserves, he is doing something he enjoys, and at his side is his beautiful bride, whom he never would have met had God not taken him down the path He had – a path some, including his brother, had questioned.

John was given a lemon. He could have chosen to look at his time at A&M as a failure and fallen into a very dark and bitter place. Instead, he chose to accept the fact that the purpose of his time spent at A&M had not yet been revealed. Later, he would marry the woman he met at A&M, and he’d look back on those good memories and sweet times spent in Aggieland with an entirely new perspective. He’s now made lemonade by being thankful for his time there and realizing that he walked away from it all with a beautiful bride.

I look back and smile when I think about what God had in store for my brother. The whole time I was worried about what would happen to him, God knew exactly the plan He had for him, as He always knows the plans He has for each of us. And any moment we feel ourselves questioning where the path we’re currently on is leading us (or, perhaps, a loved one), we just need to take a step back in our worrying and remember that God knows the big picture. Perhaps there is a purpose we haven’t even considered. I doubt John knew he’d walk away from A&M, not as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, but with a woman who was willing to share his life “till death do them part.” I don’t think anyone knew or could’ve guessed. And yet, the Creator of all things knew, and He knows exactly what He has in store for you.