My brother Jim has saved the lives of each of his siblings. He saved one brother from drowning and another one from choking, and later as a dermatology resident he saved my life. When the ER doctor said it was just one of those things that would go away on its own, Jim was insisting that I was having "textbook seizures" and he wouldn't leave me alone until I had EEG and MRI tests, which is how my brain tumor was discovered.
There's no way to pay something like that back, and I'm not sure I could pay it forward, either. However, I came close the other day. My youngest brother Blake called and told me about a stomach injury he sustained the night before, and he complained of a continuing abdominal pain. He wanted to know what I thought it was. I thought it was a good reason to go to the emergency room, and I finally convinced him to go. A few hours later he was in surgery to remove his appendix, which was in the early stage of appendicitis. They also had to deal with a hematoma that was close to the appendix. Together, those factors could have been devastating if he had not sought proper care.
This is not to boast, or to even suggest that I have anywhere near the medical expertise of my brother Jim. As I saw the parallel in these experiences it became yet another example to me of how much the Lord knows and cares about each of his children, and how he provides what we need. Sometimes he does it in the form of a nagging little brother, and sometimes he does it in the form of a nagging older sister. And sometimes he does it by putting other people in our paths, who are also our brothers and sisters as children of the same God. And so we never know when it will be our turn to pay it forward and unknowingly help someone with a word or a deed.