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A Brother's Love: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/3/2020 7:00:00 AM by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

John McNeil was a hyperactive 10-year-old with mental retardation. He had no idea he was doing something dangerous on February 11, 1997, when he climbed to the top of a high voltage electrical power pole.

Deadly tower

The tower was 120 feet high – as high as a 12-story apartment building. If John fell, he would be badly hurt and he might die. If he even barely touched the wires on the tower, the electricity could kill him.

Fear of heights

John’s 17-year-old brother James was terrified of heights, but when he saw his little brother climbing the tower, he climbed up after him to save his life. At the same time, the boys’ sister phoned 911 for help.

Hour of terror

When John reached his brother at the top of the tower, it was too dangerous to try to climb down without help. Stiff with fear, James kept tight hold of his squirmy little brother for about an hour until a rescue crew could save them.

James risked his life to save his little brother’s life.

What Jesus said

At his last meal with his followers before he died, Jesus said: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13, NIV).

We don’t always have chances to show our love by making a big, dramatic sacrifice, the way James did when his brother climbed the electric power pole.  Still, we can make minor sacrifices to show love in small ways. 

Today’s prayer

Lord, please show us how to love each other better. Is there something we need to do today to show love to someone as a family, or to show love to each other? Help us to see the need and help us to love enough to make sacrifices to help each other.” Amen.

Note: (This story is retold from the November 1997 issue of Reader’s Digest, “A Brother’s Helping Hands”)

 

©2017 Becky Cerling Powers

You can find this story and others by Becky Cerling Powers in the Bookstore in My Roots Go Back to Loving and other stories from Year of the Family


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