Sunday, December 16, 2012
Rainbows and Love
My conversation with my Co-Writer (God) on Friday afternoon:
CW: "Because there is evil and pain in the world."
Me: "How could you let children go through that? How could you let them feel that much fear?"
CW: "How could you ever believe I would?"
A few years ago a pastor from Nebraska, Todd Burpo, wrote about his four year old son, Colton's, account of his visit to heaven during surgery for a ruptured appendix.
Here are a few excerpts from the book, "Heaven Is For Real."
A year after Colton has recovered, the family is driving through the town where Colton was in the hospital.
"Do you remember the hospital, Colton?," his mother asked.
"Yes, Mommy, I remember," Colton replied, "That's where the angels sang to me."
After Colton's parents exchange looks of surprise and disbelief,
"What did they sing to you?"
"Well, they sang 'Jesus Loves Me' and 'Jesus Fought the Battle of Jericho," he said earnestly. "I asked them to sing 'We Will, We Will Rock You' but they wouldn't sing that."
"Colton, what did the angels look like?"
"Well, one of them looked like Grandpa Dennis, but it wasn't him, 'cause Grandpa Dennis has glasses."
Then he grew serious. "Dad, Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was so scared. They made me feel better."
"You mean Jesus was there?"
My little boy nodded as though reporting nothing more remarkable than seeing a ladybug in the front yard. "Yeah, Jesus was there."
"Well, where was Jesus?"
Colton looked me right in the eye. "I was sitting in Jesus' lap."
Several days or weeks later:
"Hey, Dad, did you know Jesus has a horse?"
"Yeah, a rainbow horse. I got to pet him. There's lots of colors."
"Where are there lots of colors, Colton?"
"In heaven, Dad. That where all the rainbow colors are."
"You were in heaven?" I managed to ask.
"Well, yeah, Dad," he said, as if that fact should have been perfectly obvious.
When Colton's parents asked Colton what Jesus looked like he gives a description that most of us are familiar with, a man with brown hair and a beard dressed in brilliant white robes with a purple sash with one emphasis:
"And his eyes...oh, Dad his eyes are so pretty!"
For years the Burpos showed Colton images of Jesus, trying to find the perfect match, but one after another, Colton pronounced as "not right." Then one day Todd Burpo heard about a young girl named Akiane Kramarik. Akiane, an art prodigy, had begun having visions of heaven at the age of four and her descriptions closely matched Coltons.
"All the colors were out of this world," she said describing heaven. "There are hundreds of millions of more colors we don't know yet."
When describing Jesus, Akiane said:
"He's pure. He's very masculine, really strong and big. And his eyes are just beautiful."
The truly amazing aspect of this story was that Akiane's mother was an atheist and that God was never discussed in the home, the family did not watch TV and Akiane was homeschooled. Akiane had painted a portrait of the Jesus she had seen.
When Todd Burpo showed his son Akiane's portrait he asked,
"What's wrong with this one, Colton?" I said again.
I nudged him in the arm, "Colton?"
My seven year old turned to look at me and said, "Dad, that one's right."
There was one very specific message that Colton was emphatic about sharing and he repeated it to his parents many times until his father finally said, "Colton, we get it." Here is what the young boy so earnestly told his parents, over and over again.
"Hey Dad, Jesus told me to tell you, He really loves the children."
"Remember, Jesus really loves the children."
"Hey, Daddy don't forget," he'd say, garbling the words through a mouthful of toothpaste foam, "Jesus said he really, really loves the children!"
For me to reconcile that message the the events that took place Friday morning, instead of the tragic, heartbreaking images my mind will form from the television and internet reports, I have to try to see twenty beautiful angels, their wings wrapped closely around to shield the children in their arms, their heads bowed, cheek to cheek, their lips to each small ear, singing softly, as they wing their way to a land of rainbows and love.
That's what I have to believe.
It's the only thing that makes sense.
Of course, my conversation with my Co-Writer wasn't that brief on Friday;
Me: "I hate him."
CW: "He is my child, too. Forgive him."
Me: "I can't do that."
CW: "You have to."
CW: "Love. That is the answer to all your questions."