BIBLE VS ASSUMPTIONS RE BIBLE: HEAVEN & HEAVENLY VISITATIONS

To: Quix

for those bothered by papyrus font:

ASSUMPATIONS VS BIBLE TRUTHS RE HEAVEN IS REAL
ABOUT COLTON BURPO’S EXPERIENCES

BIBLE VS ASSUMPATIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE
Quix Commentary

NOTE: I, too have been through many dreadful church experiences . . . some of which almost or even for a time, somewhat to largely ship-wrecked my faith.

I well and keenly recognize the desperate urge, tendency, even compulsion to try and carve out some pretended tidy little boxed theology/Christianity—for comfort; for the easy way out; to avoid tension-filled hassles, dilemmas, choices, HAVING TO DECIDE, CHOOSE, HEAR GOD’S VOICE about so many details and obey . . . rarely quite confident of clear boundaries through the wilderness in such a ‘FLY BY HOLY SPIRIT and the seat of my pants’ spiritual and life-walk.

I well and keenly recognize that tempting draw such a “Christianity” holds for mortals. However, God has NEVER let me get away with such a perspective and life-style.

Evidently, some, He either does or He doesn’t make forcing them out of it near the priority HE seems to have made it for me. If the reader is one of those for whom God seems to have said—fine—enjoy your tidy little boxes—what can I say.

I’m skeptical that ANYONE SERIOUSLY WANTING TO GO WHOLE HOG AND UTTERLY ABANDONED TO GOD—will find that to be God’s stance with them.

However, I’m aware that we each are somewhat in the driver’s seat as to how far we are willing to go with God.

NEVERTHELESS, it is GOD’S NATURE and normal requirement to REQUIRE ALL OF US—just as He required of Abraham in offering up Isaac.

And in my Christian walk, a PERSISTENT ABSOLUTELY ALL aspect has been—MY NOTIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS about even Scripture and certainly about what I ASSUMED to comprise, safely and totally encompass the Christian walk.

Such an experience, I’ve noticed IN THE BIBLE, is entirely consistent with Scripture. He has REPEATEDLY THROUGHOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW TESTAMENT—pressed those who Loved Him BEYOND the stereotypic tidy little boxed RELIGIOUS UNDERSTANDINGS of their day—some of which GOD HIMSELF HAD CONSTRUCTED earlier. He has certainly persistently, relentlessly pressed them beyond their COMFORT ZONES.

WE TEND to equate our comfort zones with, EQUAL TO the PUREST, MOST COMPLETE, MOST ACCURATE, REALLLLLY KOSHER FORM OF CHRISTIANITY—in contrast to those other simpletons who don’t quite get it as well as WE do.

God has a different perspective. To HIS perspective, all ours are simpletons and miss the boat—often in some pretty significant ways.

EVERY RELIGIOUS problem of Scripture that I recall, involving a given perspective or ‘IN-GROUP’ mentality—involved HUMAN, MORTAL EFFORTS to REDUCE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD—TO A FORMULA—SOME PREDICTABLE, STRUCTURED, STAID, . . . put-the-quarters-in-the-Heavenly-vending-machine—get-the-God-result-out type of “Judaism” or “Christianity.”

It’s a normal mortal response.
We crave the predictable.
We feel secure in the predictable.
We feel safer with the predictable.
At some level, we get brittle, possessive, even worshipful toward the predictable.
We feel much more IN !!!!CONTROL!!!! with the predictable.

GOD HAS A BETTER IDEA.

GOD WANTS A DANCE—A NON-CHOREOGRAPHED DANCE—WHERE-IN HE IS IN CONTROL STEP BY STEP.

That freaks even most Christians out.

However, those who persist, persevere into a deepening DYNAMIC DANCE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD discover dimensions of God and relating to God that others have little or no concept of and less to no EXPERIENCE OF.

How do you think God feels about THAT?

Most parents with several kids know that some kids just naturally seem to be closer, more like a given parent. And others seem to be off in space or at least on a long tether stretched about as far as they can stretch it away from the loving parents.

It’s not necessarily that the more distant children want to disown the parents. They just want to control their lives more independently and MORE ON THEIR TERMS—and quite a bit more distantly.

How does that feel to the parents?

How do you think Almighty God feels about such a stance on the part of His kids?

PARTICULARLY when HE KNOWS that there are coming some incidents ahead in the life of each kid—when maximum overcoming health and safety will depend on the closest possible relationship with God?

Looking at it from another angle . . .

We were bought for a priceless price—the Blood of Jesus.

What right do we have . . . what right does the pot have . . . telling the potter—no thanks, I don’t want to be a banquet piece. I’d rather be a chamber pot, thank you very much!

What do we mean when we sing: ALL TO JESUS . . . I SURRENDER ALL . . .

. . . except, OF COURSE, how we DEFINE RELATING TO GOD! Our DAFFYNITION HAS TO PREVAIL! OUR ASSUMPTIONS HAVE TO PREVAIL. God can just keep HIS to Himself, thank you very much—seems to be the stance of the tidy boxed crowd.

May God have mercy on such immature ceekiness.

RNMomOf7:

I’ve used your msg as a spring-board to reply to the whole set of perspectives and mentalities that I’ve experienced as similar to your own. The below is NOT designed as a personal rant against you personally. I believe the tidy-boxed perspective that I see yours within, or part of or an example of—to be hazardous to the UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST sort of RELATIONSHIP with God that Believes are to aspire to. Therefore, I feel it is worth the time, energy and forcefulness of the below.

I have mentioned some Biblical support for my views. I hope you see them as that.

I pray Holy Spirit through Scripture and outside of scripture in HIS DIALGOUES WITH YOU—will make HIS views of such narratives and particularly of this one—abundantly clear to you—and others.

BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!
BLESSED BE THE WORD OF THE LORD!
BLESSED BE THE WAYS OF THE LORD!—ALL OF THEM!

RELIGION & RELIGIOUS ASSUMPTIONS
HAVE BEEN IN CONTRAST TO
&
TOO OFTEN IN STUBBORN, PROUD, SELF-RIGHTEOUS
OPPOSITION TO
WHAT GOD WAS, IN FACT, DOING
THROUGHOUT RECORDED HISTORY.
However, I don’t recommend it, at all
For those wanting to be closest to God
And walking most in His Will.
   RNMomOf7: If the promise of scripture is not enough for someone I do not know what to say Qx: The promise of Scripture is not enough? For what?

I’ve never said Scripture was not enough for Salvation!
I’ve never said Scripture was not enough to outline our relationship with God sufficiently for us to make Heaven!
I’ve never said Scripture was not enough for us to learn how to walk with God!
Etc. Etc. Etc.

On the other hand, Where in Scripture does it say to buy house “B” instead of house “A?”

Where in Scripture does it say to avoid marrying Sam and to mary Bill instead?

Where in Scripture does it say to take this career route instead of that career route?

ACTUALLY, SCRIPTURE SAYS CHRIST’S SHEEP HEAR HIS VOICE.

1. Either Christ told the truth in that verse or Christ lied.

2. Given that Christ CANNOT lie, it must be THE TRUTH.

3. Given that it’s THE TRUTH, Believers either HEAR HIS VOICE or A) they have spiritually plugged up ears and bad spiritual hearing; &/or
B) they have been so disobedient to what He’s been telling them that He’s waiting for their obedience to catch up before He tells them more; &/or
C) they hear Him sufficiently clearly to continue the dance without tripping over themselves overly much. &/or

4. They just think they are believers in fellowship with Him but really are more candidates for “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

 5-7 RNMomOf7:
Remember the transfiguration? John and Peter were not allowed to speak to Moses or Elijah ..
Qx:
1. THAT’S AN ASSUMPTION UNSUPPORTED BY THE SCRIPTURE.

2. So what? Even if true—There’s NO indication that such HAD TO BE NORMATIVE in such cases. ASSUMING IT HAD TO BE NORMATIVE would be an ASSUMPTION UNSUPPORTED BY SCRIPTURE.

3. God may well have not wanted anything said between them to be recorded.

4. SOME Heavenly visitors are allowed to talk to the Patriarchs of the Old and New Testament and some are definitely not. There’s no indication as to what the distinction is based on.

 8-10 RNMomOf7:
Do you REALLY believe this kid was sitting hanging out with the Holy Spirit?
Qx:
1. ABSOLUTELY.

2. JESUS SAID—SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN TO COME UNTO ME. And, that unless we approach God like a little child, WE WON’T MAKE HEAVEN AT ALL.

3. Why wouldn’t Holy Spirit enjoy time with Colton like that?

A) It’s entirely Scriptural.
B) It’s entirely congruent with God’s Character, God’s Nature.
C) It’s entirely congruent with other descriptions of other Biblically sound Heavenly visitations.
D) It clearly fulfilled God’s delight and purposes vis a vis Colton in that visit.

 11-12 RNMomOf7:
Where did He tell us of the saints crying out from under the altar for vengeance?
Qx:
1. Say Whut?

2. What’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?

3. That Scripture was part of a particular passage written for our edification for a particular set of purposes that evidently had little or nothing to do with what God had in mind and purposed vis a vis Colton’s Heavenly visitation.

4. Are you claiming that God is not allowed to act like ALMIGHTY GOD . . . unless He does so according to YOUR SENSIBILITIES, ASSUMPTIONS, PRESUMPTIONS AND SCRIPT?

5. I wouldn’t recommend trying to maintain that stance and pretend that you can do so and walk close to Him at the same time. HE INSISTS ON BEING IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT—IN ALL RESPECTS.

6. It’s beginning to sound like you have most Scriptures in extremely narrowly defined tidy little boxes.

7. Have you REALLY NEVER experienced the multi-layered, multi-dimensional quality of Scripture wherein God can enlighten, enliven, enrich with ever unfolding NEW understandings and amplifications of sometime a verse we’ve read many hundreds of times and never quite seen that way before?

8. GOD NOR HIS HEAVEN WILL EVER FIT IN SUCH A tiny little box.

 5-7 RNMomOf7:
Do you really think Jesus told him to “be nice” ? he must be saved if he was in heaven..did he share his testimony? …
Qx:
1. Of course I believe Jesus said that to Colton!

2. Why wouldn’t Jesus talk to Colton at least partly in terms Colton was used to? Hint: Jesus happens to be THE EXPERT IN ALL CREATION of incarnating and condescending to the level of those He Loves—to the point of THE CROSS to die in our stead! And Scripture says He’s touched with the feelings of our infirmities. Why wouldn’t He speak to Colton in Colton’s familiar terms?

3. I don’t recall in the book anything about the parents having led the 4 year old through the plan of Salvation; confession, repentance etc. I’m confident from what I did read in the book that Colton had always been brought up with the knowledge that Jesus was God; came in the flesh etc. and was the only way to the Father.

4. I have every confidence that such was Colton’s heart attitude toward God and Jesus regardless of everything else.

5. Certainly Christ relates to all of us most in terms of our heart attitudes toward God. Thankfully!

6. I assure you, Colton has been a heavy duty witness about Christ Jesus ever since his Heavenly visitation. Even before the book was published, he was uncertain he wanted to go through with it. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME, DAD. . . . meaning it was all about JESUS. They finally decided that JESUS WOULD GET MORE GLORY and CHRIST’S KINGDOM WOULD BE MORE ENHANCED by publishing the book than if they didn’t.

7. Do you REALLY think, believe, PRESUME THAT THAT GODLY HEART ATTITUDE CAME FROM SATAN? If so, that’s uncomfortably close to attributing something of Holy Spirit to satan, imho.

 5-7 RNMomOf7:
Quix I have pity on people that look for extra biblical things to find comfort that should be sufficient in the scriptures..
Qx:
1. Certainly Scriptures were designed to be a comfort to Believers. “Comfort one another with these words . . . “

2. However, it is an UNBiblical ASSUMPTION that God CONFINED ALL HIS COMFORTS for His kids to the wood pulp and ink!

3. Scripture is clear that HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR COMFORTER!

4. Do you REALLY ASSUME, PRESUME that HOLY SPIRIT—WHO SUSTAINS THE VERY FABRIC OF REALITY—IS TOTALLY CONFINED TO WOOD PULP AND INK? God have mercy!

5. Scripture speaks of our entertaining angels unaware. By your ASSUMPTIONS, PRESUMPTIONS, ANGELS WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED to comfort us, aid us etc. We’d have to hit demons over the head with the wood pulp and ink or forget it! What nonsense!

6. Scripture exhorts us to comfort and encourage one another with singing hymns. Your perspective would not allow that unless maybe we were ONLY singing the text from the wood pulp and ink! God’s anointed creativity through song writers through the ages would have to be trashed! What nonsense!

7. Evidently God gave Paul and others in the beginning of this CHURCH ERA Heavenly visitations—for God’s purposes! I can’t imagine that such were for punishment vs comfort and encouragement!

8. Scripture indicates that such supernatural manifestations and incidents will increase close to the time of Christ’s return. This book is evidence, fulfillment of those scriptures.

9. Such experiences are not to be worshiped or put in an inordinate place, perspective, value.

10. Neither is God happy with folks trashing them.

 5-7 RNMomOf7:
The words of this child and his ghost writer are not infallible scripture..
Qx:
1. Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

2. NO ONE’S TRYING TO ENSCRIPTURATE Colton’s narrative!

3. Scripture is clear that were all Christ’s doings written down, the earth could not contain them. EVIDENTLY GOD SAW FIT TO LEAVE TONS OF STUFF OUT OF SCRIPTURE—FOR HIS PURPOSES! So what. HE GETS TO ACT LIKE GOD about *HIS* WORD, BECAUSE HE *IS* GOD! And you & I are not.

4. God clearly designed Colton’s experiences and narrative and book as a blessing to Believers and to God’s Kingdom in this era. Folks can throw it back in God’s face, if they wish. I don’t recommend that response.

 5-7 RNMomOf7:
We need to remember that Satan walks around seeing who he may devour.. He is the great deceiver..
Qx:
1. THAT’S A GROSSLY UNBIBLICAL association with this narrative. May God have mercy.

2. SCRIPTURE IS CLEAR THAT THE BIBLICAL CRITERIA IS WHETHER THE SOURCE, PERSONAGE AFFIRMS THAT CHRIST CAME IN THE FLESH, is King of Kings, Lord of Lords . . . the basic doctrines of the faith—WHICH THIS BOOK AFFIRMS LOUDLY AND CLEARLY.

3. Therefore, by the BIBLE’S OWN STANDARD, CRITERIA Colton’s narrative MUST be assessed as BEING FROM GOD. Any other assumptions, presumptions are GROSSLY UNBIBLICAL!

4. Another Biblical criteria is fruit. The fruit of Colton’s narrative is that thousands of people have been comforted and brought into a Salvation experience with Jesus because of their reading Colton’s story or hearing about it. Satan’s efforts don’t produce that kind of fruit for God’s Kingdom.

5. There’s no explanation for Colton meeting his stillborn sister whom he’d never heard a single thing about—except that HE MET HER IN. . . DRUM ROLL . . . HEAVEN! DOH!

6. There’s no explanation for his meeting his SAVED great granpa whom he’d never known—except that he met him in . . . drum roll . . . HEAVEN! And, he affirmed his looks only after seeing a picture of him about the age folks routinely are . . . drum roll . . . IN HEAVEN!—usually about 25-30 years old by appearance. He didn’t recognize an older picture of him.

7. Folks in hell, look more haggared, more aged, more deteriorated. What a surprise! Not.

 5-7 RNMomOf7:
The truth is this book could be 100% fiction and a scam couldn’t it???
Qx:
1. !NOPE!
NOT by a trillion miles & more!

2. NOT, ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE’S OWN CRITERIA noted above.

3. NOT according to the abundant Biblical fruit for and into Christ’s Kingdom in terms of souls saved and Believers comforted and drawn closer to God thereby.

4. NOT according to the many lies of satan this book grandly trashes wholesale.

 5-7 RNMomOf7:
My friend, we test everything against scripture.. not popes,not tradition, not modern prophets and not the words of a child,,.. if it does not pass the scriptural test we need to reject it..and find our comfort and joy and assurance in the word of God
Qx:
1. Of course we test everything against Scripture like the Bereans. They did not THROW out the new things God was doing because they didn’t fit their tidy little !!!!TRADITIONAL!!!! boxes. They just made sure they lined up with Scripture. Wise Bereans.

2. Of course we find comfort and joy in Scripture. Nevertheless, God is too big to 100% totally and only within the confines of the wood pulp and ink. CHRIST IS THE LIVING WORD, after all!

3. In a number of Scriptures, God advertises that on occasion, HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW. And, rarely did Christ heal any two people the exact same way.

4. HE’S A VERY VERY VERY CREATIVE GOD!

5. I’ve read a lot of Heavenly visitation narratives. None of them are identical. Yet the reliable convincing ones are entirely Biblical—though they may NOT fit my ASSUMPTIONS about Scripture. They do fit Scripture.

NOTE: I write the above generically toward those who have attitudes and perspectives similar to those of RNMomOf7; . . . not per se strictly or personally to her.

220
posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 4:30:59 PM
by Quix
(Times are a changin’ INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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2 thoughts on “BIBLE VS ASSUMPTIONS RE BIBLE: HEAVEN & HEAVENLY VISITATIONS

  1. Here’s some excerpts from

    HEAVEN IS FOR REAL by Todd Burpo though much of it is accurately quoted Colton Burpo who experienced the Heavenly visit.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Here are some of the parts of Colton’s book that blessed me abundantly; strengthened my hand in The Lord; drew me closer to God; deepened my sense of God’s Love in my life

    (BTW, anyone who thinks that kind of fruit is bad fruit or comes from an enemy source is using as much of a DAFFYNITIONARY as the RC’s):

    NOTE: I used all CAPS where the book used italics

    p. 56 “Colton . . . do you know why you’re in trouble?”

    “Yeah. Because I didn’t share,” he said, casting his eyes down at the table.

    “That’s right. You can’t do that, Colton. You’ve got to treat people better than that.”

    Colton raised his eyes and looked at me. “Yeah, I know, Dad. Jesus told me I had to be nice.”

    His words caught me a little by surprise. It was the way he said it: JESUS TOLD ME . . .

    p57 . . . “Daddy, what’s a funeral?”

    . . . “Well, buddy, a funeral happens when someone dies. A man here in town died, and his family is coming to church to say good-bye to him.”

    Instantly, Colton’s demeanor changed. His face fell into serious lines, and he stared fiercely into my eyes “Did the man have Jesus in his heart?”

    . . . his intensity caught me off guard.

    “I’m not sure, Colton,” I said. “I didn’t know him very well.”

    Colton’s face bunched up in a terrible twist of worry. “He HAD to have Jesus in his heart! He HAD to know Jesus or he can’t get into heaven!”

    Again, his intensity surprised me, especially since he didn’t even know this man.

    . . . “I’ve talked to some of the family members, and they told me he did,” I said.

    p58 Colton didn’t seem entirely convinced, but his face relaxed a bit. “Well . . . okay,” he said and walked away.

    . . .

    . . .

    I tried to keep it simple. “That’s the casket. The man who died is inside it.”

    Suddenly, Colton’s face gathered into that same knot of intense concern. He slammed his fist on his thighs, then pointed one finger at the casket and said in a near shout,
    “Did that man have Jesus?!”

    Sonja’s eyes popped wide; and we both glanced at the sanctuary doorway, terrified the family inside could hear our son.

    “He HAD to! He HAD to!” Colton went on. “He can’t get into heaven if he didn’t have Jesus in his heart!”

    Sonja grabbed Colton by the shoulders and tried to shush him. But he was not shushable. Now nearly in tears, Colton twisted in her arms and yelled at me, “He HAD to know Jesus, Dad!” p59

    . . .

    . . .

    I did know this much: Colton was at that age where if something popped into his head, he’d just blurt it out.
    p 62 & p63

    Sitting at my makeshift desk, I looked over at my son as he brought Spider-Man pouncing down on some nasty-looking creature from Star Wars.

    “Hey, Colton,” I said, “Remember when we were in the car and you talked about sitting on Jesus’ lap?”

    Still on his knees, he looked up at me. “Yeah.”

    “Well, did anything else happen?”

    He nodded, eyes bright. “Did you know that Jesus has a cousin? Jesus told me his cousin baptized him.”

    “Yes, you’re right,” I said. “The Bible says Jesus’ cousin’s name is John.”

    Mentally, I scolded myself: DON’T OFFER INFORMATION. JUST LET HIM TALK. . .

    “I don’t remembner his name,” Colton said happily, “but he was really nice.”

    JOHN THE BAPTIST IS “NICE”?!

    Just as I was processing the implications of my son’s statement—that he had MET John the Baptist—Colton spied a plastic horse among his toys and held it up for me to look at. “Hey, Dad, did you know Jesus has a horse?”

    “A horse?”

    “Yeah, a rainbow horse. I got to pet him. There’s lots of colors.”

    LOTS OF COLORS? What was he talking about?

    “Where are there lots of colors, Colton?”

    “In heaven, Dad. That’s where all the rainbow colors are.”

    That set my head spinning. Suddenly I realized that up until that point, I’d been toying with the idea that maybe Colton had had some sort of divine visitation. Maybe Jesus and the angels had appeared to him in the hospital. . . .

    Now it was dawning on me that p64 not only was my son saying he had left his body; HE WAS SAYING HE HAD LEFT THE HOSPITAL!

    “You were in heaven?” I managed to ask.

    “Well, yeah, Dad,” he said as if that fact should have been perfectly obvious.

    I had to take a break. I stood and bounced up the stairs, picked up the phone and dialed Sonja’s cell. . .
    [next on p65 comes the part about what Jesus looked like—that “Jesus has markers” . . . which turned out to be the scars in his hands.
    p71

    “Well what did you do in heaven? I ventured.

    “Homework.”

    HOMEWORK? That wasn’t what I was expecting. Choir practice maybe, but homework? “What do you mean?”

    Colton smiled. “Jesus was my teacher.”

    “Like school?”
    p72

    Colton nodded. “Jesus gave me work to do, and that was my favorite part of heaven. There were lots of kids, Dad.”

    That statement marked the beginning of a period that I wished we had written down. During this conversation and for the next year or so, Colton could name a lot of the kids he said were in heaven with him. He doesn’t remember their names now, though, and neither do Sonja nor I.
    p73

    “Everyone kind of looks like angels in heaven, Dad.” . . . “All the people have a light above their head.”
    p74

    A friend of ours, the wife of a pastor at a church in Colorado, had once told me about something her daughter, Hannah, said when she was three years old. After the morning service was over one Sunday, Hannah tugged on her mom’s skirt and asked,

    “Mommy, why do some people in church have lights over their heads and some don’t?”
    p75

    The same un-self-conscious honesty that enables a three-year old to splash joyfully in a rain puddle, or tumble laughing int he grass with a puppy, or point out loudly that you have a booger hanging out of your nose,
    is what is required to enter heaven.

    It is the opposite of ignorance—it is intellectual honesty: to be willing to accept reality and to call things what they are even when it is hard.
    . . .

    “A light, huh?” was all I said.

    “Yeah, and they have yellow from here to here,” he said, making the sash motion again, left shoulder to right hip. “And white from here to here.” He placed his hands on his shoulders, then bent forward and touched the tops of his feet.

    . . . I looked at him, kneeling in the kitchen chair with his towel-cape still tied around his neck. “Colton, you said you were in heaven and you did all these things . . . a LOT of things. How long were you gone?”

    My little boy looked me right in the eye and didn’t hesitate. “Three minutes,” he said. Then he hopped down from the chair and skipped off to play.
    p79

    “Hey, Colton, I don’t understand,” I began.

    He looked up at me, and I noticed for the first time that all the roundness had returned to his face, his cheeks filled out and rosy again after his illness had drained them thin and sallow. “What?”

    “You said you went to heaven. People have to die to go to heaven.”

    Colton’s gaze didn’t waver. “Well, okay then, I died. But just for a little bit.”

    My heart skipped a beat. If you haven’t heard your preschooler tell you he was dead, I don’t recommend it. But Colton hadn’t died. I knew what the medical record said. Colton had never ceased breathing. His heart never stopped.

    [according to the records of a hospital that had mis-diagnosed him to begin with—missing his ruptured appendix for several days??? IIRC—Quix]
    . . . Then I reemembered that the Bible talks in several places about people who had seen heaven WITHOUT dying. . . .
    p81

    Suddenly, he piped up again. “Daddy, remember when I yelled for you in the hospital when I waked up?”
    How could I forget? It was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. “Of course I do,” I said.

    “Well, the reason I was yelling was that Jesus came to get me. He said I had to go back because he was answering your prayer. That’s how come I was yelling for you.”
    suddenly, my knees felt weak underneath me. . . .

    And Jesus answered my prayer? Personally? After I had yelled at God, chastising him, questioning his wisdom and his faithfulness?
    p83

    I described briefly my attitude in that little room in the hospital, blasting God, blaming him for Colton’s condition, whining about how he had chosen to treat one of his pastors, as though I should somehow be exempt from troubles because I was doing “his” work.

    “At that time, when I was so upset and so outraged, can you believe that God chose to answer that prayer?”

    “Can you believe that I could pray a prayer like that, and God would still answer it ‘yes’?”

    . . .

    “You might aw well tell God what you think,” I said, “He already knows it anyway.”
    p86

    Suddenly Colton spoke up,” Dad, you had a granpa named Pop, didn’t you?”

    “Yep, sure did,” I said.

    “Was he your mommy’s daddy or your daddy’s daddy?”

    “Pop was my mom’s dad. He passed away when I was not much older than you.”

    [I forgot it was Colton’s dad’s mom’s dad—Quix]

    Colton smiled. “He’s really nice.”

    I almost drove off the road into the corn. It’s a crazy moment when your son uses the present tense to refer to someone who died a quarter century before he was even born.
    But I tried to stay cool. “So you saw Pop?” I said.
    “Yeah, I got to stay with him in heaven. You were really close to him, huh, Dad?”

    “Yes, I was,” was all I could manage. My head spun. Colton had just introduced a whole new topic. people you’ve lost, and meeting them in heaven. Crazily, enough, with all the talk of Jesus and angels and horses, I had never even thought to ask him if he’d met anyone I might know. But then why would I? We hadn’t lost any family or friends since Colton was born, so who would there have been for him to meet?

    . . .

    “What did his clothes look like?”

    “He had white on but blue here,” he said, making the sash motion again.p87
    p88

    . . . “I rode on the combine and the tractor with him. He had a dog, and we’d take him out and hunt rabbits.”
    Colton nodded again: “Yeah, I know! Pop told me.”
    p89

    I remember seeing my mother in anguish at the funeral, but her grief didn’t end there. As I got older, I’d sometimes catch her in prayer, with tears gently sliding down her cheeks. When I asked her what was wrong, she would share with me, “I’m worried about whether Pop went to heaven.”
    We didn’t find out until much later, in 2006, from my Aunt Connie, about a special service Pop had attended only two days before his death—a service that might hold answers to my grandfather’s eternal destiny. . . .

    [I was wrong thinking it was in a hospital room—Quix]

    Hurbert closed his message by asking if anyone wanted to give his life to Christ. Uncle Hurbert saw Pop raise his hand. But somehow the story never made it back to my mom, and she worrried about it off and on for the next twenty-eight years.

    . . .

    she pulled into our driveway, having made the trip all the way from Ulysses to hear what her grandson had to say about her dad. . . p90

    “Oh, yes! Jesus said he went to Daddy and told him he wanted Daddy to be a pastor and Daddy said yes, and Jesus was really happy.”

    One evening in October, I was sitting at the kitchen table, working on a sermon. Sonja was around the corner in the living room, working on the business books, processing job tickets, and sorting through payables. Cassie played Barbie dolls at her feet. I heard Colton’s footsteps padding up the hallway and caught a glimpse of him circling the couch, where he planted himself directly in front of Sonja.
    “Mommy, I have two sisters,” Colton said.

    I put down my pen. Sonja didn’t. She kept on working.
    Colton repeated himself. “Mommy, I have two sisters.”
    Sonja looked up from her paperwork and shook her head slightly. “no, you have your sister, Cassie, and .. .. do you mean your cousin, Traci?”

    “No.” Colton clipped off the word adamantly “I have two SISTERS. You had a baby die in your tummy, didn’t you?”
    At that moment, time stopped in the Burpo household, and Sonjay’s eyes grew wide. Juest a few seconds before, Colton had been trying unsuccessfully to get his mom to listen to him. Now, even from the kitchen table, I could see that he had her undivided attention.

    “Who told you I had a baby die in my tummy?” Sonja said, her tone serious.

    “She did, Mommy. She said she died in your tummy.”
    Then Colton turned and started to walk away. He had said what he had to say and was ready to move on. But after the bomb he’d justy dropped, Sonja was just getting started. Before [end p94] p95: our son could get around the couch, Sonja’s voice rang out in an all-hands-on-deck red alert. “COLTON TODD BURPO, YOU GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!”
    Colton spun around and caught my eye. His face said,

    WHAT DID I JUST DO?

    . . .

    A bit nervoulsly, Colton slunk back around the couch and faced his mom again, this time much more warily. “It’s ok, Mommy,” he said “She’s okay. God adopted her.”

    Sonja slid off the couch and knelt down in front of Colton so she could look him in the eyes.

    “Dont’ you mean Jesus adopted her?” she said.

    “No, Mommy. His Dad did!”

    Sonja turned and looked at me. In that moment, she later told me, she was trying to stay calm, but she was over-whelmed. OUR BABY. . . WAS—IS A GIRL, she thought.
    Sonja focused on Colton, and I could hear the effort it took to steady her voice. “So what did she look like?”
    “She looked a lot like Cassie,” Colton said. “She is just a little bit smaller, and she has dark hair.”

    Sonja’s dark hair.

    As I watched, a blend of pain and joy played across my wife’s face. Cassie and Colton have my blond hair. She had even jokingly complained to me before, “I carry these kids FOR NINE MONTHS, and they both come out looking like you!” Now there was a child who looked like her. A daughter. I saw the firt hint of moisture glint in my wife’s eyes.

    Now Colton went on without prompting. “In heaven, this little girl ran up to me, and she wouldn’t stop hugging me.,” he said in a tone that clearly indicated he didn’t enjoy all this hugging from a GIRL.
    . . .

    Sonja’s eyes lit up and she asked, “What was her name? What was the little girl’s name?”

    Colton seemed to forget all the yucky girl hugs for a moment. “She doesn’t have a name. You guys didn’t name her.”
    HOW DID HE KNOW that?

    “You’re right, Colton,” Sonja said. “We didn’t even know she was a she.”

    Then Colton said something that still rings in my ears:
    “Yeah, she said she just can’t wait for you and Daddy to get to heaven.”

    From the kitchen table, I could see that Sonja was barely holding it together. She gave Colton a kiss and told him he could go play. And when he left the room, tears spilled over her cheeks.

    “Our baby is ok,” she whispered. “Our baby is okay.” p96
    ________________________________________
    There’s a lot more parts that are a big blessing to me.
    I encourage folks strongly to get the book. Enjoy.

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