MY LOUSY WORLD: Easter questions answered

Posted 4/21/11

I haven’t felt like me since Mom passed, with a nagging feeling I’ve lost my intercessory. Over the years, my family often talked about how Mom had prayed me through an uncommon amount of “near-misses.” There was the life-threatening spinal …

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MY LOUSY WORLD: Easter questions answered


On Good Friday 2,011 years ago, the greatest man that ever lived, died. The day before Good Friday one year ago, the greatest woman that ever lived, my mother, died.

Sunday will be their second Easter together.

I haven’t felt like me since Mom passed, with a nagging feeling I’ve lost my intercessory. Over the years, my family often talked about how Mom had prayed me through an uncommon amount of “near-misses.” There was the life-threatening spinal meningitis when I was 10 and my “lost years,” and the 20-some car and motorcycle wrecks, a few of which I didn’t even remember the next day. I always felt Mom had prayed me through them all, so now with Mom and her direct line to God gone, I’ve felt naked and vulnerable.

My friends Jere and Mahlon Clemens gave me a book, “Heaven is Real,” which resurrected my hope that Mom is still on the job. The recent bestseller tells of 4-year-old Colton Burpo, who became deathly ill during his Nebraska family’s trip from what was finally diagnosed, nearly too late, as a ruptured appendix. One day, as they passed the hospital months after his near-death recovery, Colton casually mentioned that angels sang to him when he sat on Jesus’ lap.

His pastor father Todd nearly drove off the road when Colton casually mentioned, “You were in one room praying, and Mom was in another room talking on her phone.” Over time, careful to never press him for answers but waiting for him to volunteer them, his parents were astounded when Colton mentioned his “first sister.”

The miscarriage of the daughter they had never settled on a name for years earlier had been Sonya and Todd’s greatest heartbreak. When Colton said she told him she was his sister and kept hugging him, his parents asked her name. “She didn’t have a name,” he said.

He later mentioned a man named “Pop” who asked him if his father’s name was Todd. Since he died long before Colton was born and he’d never seen a picture of him or heard the nickname “Pop,” they showed him an old photo that Colton didn’t recognize. Todd’s aged mother sent a photo of Todd’s grandfather as a young man. “That’s him; that’s Pop!” Colton squealed. Talking about the aged photo, he told them in a “Duh!” voice, “Nobody’s old in heaven. Nobody wears glasses either.”

Over time, Colton many times referred to how much Jesus loves little children, but he really had me at, “There were horses and dogs and other animals.”

So I’ve been thinking of Jesus when he was 100 percent human on earth for 33 years, experiencing every emotion and temptation as each of us. As a little kid, did he fight with his buddies and say, “My dad can whip your dad!”

As a teen, did he, like me, ever skip school because of a pimple on his nose he was self-conscious about? Did he get tongue-tied asking a girl to prom? The Bible testifies that at Jesus’ baptism, God said, “Truly this is my son.” Did Joseph say, “Ah, excuse me; I beg to differ. I didn’t see you staying up all night with him when he had the croup!”

Jesus, like Joseph, became a carpenter, but it isn’t mentioned if they were union or not. I wonder if he ever argued with an over-zealous building inspector and said, “You’re telling me, God’s only begotten son, this building isn’t up to code? Code? My dad designed the world in six days, for God’s sake!”

One thing is almost certain though: Jesus never went over his original estimate — none of this, “Well, that was before the price of thatch went through the roof!”

Getting back to the book, Colton once told his dad, “When you heard me screaming at the hospital, it was because Jesus came to me and said I had to go back because he was answering your prayer.” Todd recalled that at that very moment, he had been bitterly railing at God in a private room, for all the adversity he and his faithful family had been put through for a year. He was amazed that at the moment his frustration at God boiled over, God was graciously responding.

So on this Easter, I’m sure my mom and sisters are with Jesus; I haven’t been forsaken, and prayers are answered, even if it seems to take forever. I’m currently shingling my friend Sue Brimhall’s roof, as her 15-year battle with cancer has sadly worsened. My special Easter prayer this year, which I hope you join me in, is for Sue and her sons and daughters who still need her.

Even though Colton assured us Sue’s darling dachshund companions, Brandi and Sammi will be with her in heaven one day, let’s pray that day is in a real distant future. And my backup prayer is that, in the meantime, her new roof doesn’t leak!