By Andy Briggs —
Every Memorial Day when I was growing up, my parents would load me and my two older sisters into the family car and we would make the journey from Chaska to Lakewood Cemetery. It was here that we would visit the grave of my twin brothers who were born at just 25 weeks and were unable to survive outside the womb. We would spend about an hour there while my parents remembered life around the time they lost the boys. As I got older, on one of the trips to visit the grave, I noticed that the head stone read, “The Briggs Twins.” I asked why their names weren’t on the headstone and my parents said they never named them and really regretted that. I then asked what my brothers would have been named had my parents named them, and I was told the names they had picked out for the boys were Andrew and Aaron. I was immediately grateful that my parents hadn’t named my brothers as I was happy with my name, Andrew. I was pretty sure that my parents wouldn’t have named me Andrew if one of the twins already had that name!
Around the time I was eight years old, I remember really thinking it would have been great to have two older brothers. I had two older sisters, but if I could just have two brothers my life would be complete! I began praying every day that God in His kindness would allow my mom to have a couple of baby boys. I promised to cherish them and treat them well. I told God I would never hit them or get upset with them and that I would teach them how to play baseball, football,and basketball. I would teach them how to read and of course allow them to play with all my toys! For four or five years, I prayed and continued to bargain with God about giving me a couple of brothers. Yet, they never came.
I wasn’t upset with God when it seemed highly unlikely that my mom was ever going to get pregnant again—disappointed, yes, but not upset. While I don’t remember being upset, I do remember asking God, “God, why didn’t you answer that prayer? That was an easy one!” I was assured, though, that God had heard me as I read throughout scripture that God hears our prayers and answers them in His own way.
As I grew through my teen years and into my early twenties, I met Sara and we started dating. I was in love immediately! I knew that we were going to be married when we went on our first date. I also knew Sara was the oldest sibling in her family and had two younger brothers, so when she asked me to come to Iowa with her and meet her family, I was extremely excited. Perhaps these were the two brothers I had been praying for! When we arrived in Iowa, I could hardly contain the nervous excitement of meeting my future brothers. I was introduced to her parents, J.D. and Deb, and then to her brothers, Andrew and Aaron. I just about fell over! Could this really be? Sara’s brothers were named Andrew and Aaron?! God not only heard and answered the prayer of a pretentious young boy, but He went one step further and orchestrated my wife’s brothers’ names to be those of the brothers I never had!
Andrew and Aaron have become not only brothers (in law), but two of my best friends! There isn’t a time that we spend together that isn’t special to me. I am so thankful and grateful to God for them. They have taught me so much and challenged me in my faith in extremely positive ways. When I was an eight year old praying for brothers, I could never have anticipated God answering my prayer in the uniquely perfect way that He did. I am so thankful that we serve a God who gives us these little nuggets of grace throughout our life to let us know He hears us and cares for us. Marrying a woman who has two brothers would still have been an answer to prayer, but having them named Andrew and Aaron leaves absolutely no room for doubt!