As I write this post, it is August 12, 2017, Colton’s third birthday.
Mat 19:14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Some say that Colton “lost his battle” with a terrible disease yesterday. But I say he merely “finished” his battle, and finished well. Today would have been his third birthday as we earthbound folk count the passage of time. But it is his first birthday in the Kingdom of Heaven. Over the last few weeks he has been stuck in the “birth canal” as he was being prepared to pass from the darkness of this life into the light of the Kingdom of God. I am so happy for him, and a little jealous, but sad for those who weep in his absence.
If you have been following the updates I have posted on Facebook, you know that Colton’s mother, Jamie, and her sister Becca are like nieces to me, and in fact call me Auntie J. I have known them for approximately fifteen years and over that time they have indeed come to feel more like family than friends. Their mother, Robin, is a dear sister-friend with whom I share the sad common ground of having become widows far to early in life. Although we live three hours apart, thanks to the miracle of telephones, we are able to keep in touch. It was about a year ago that Robin began telling me that her grandson, Colton, had begun experiencing bleeding problems. After extensive testing, Colt was finally diagnosed with a very rare disease, Severe Aplastic Anemia (SAA). It was necessary for him to receive transfusions many times until it was finally determined that he would require a bone marrow transplant. The perfect donor was found in his five year old brother, James.
And so 60 days ago, he was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City and began the process of radiation, followed by bone marrow transplant. He was a champ, and for the first month, Colton continued to laugh, play, and run at full speed around the pediatric stem cell unit. It was rare to see him without a huge smile on his face. You would never have dreamed that this little boy was so sick. Long past the time that the doctors predicted he would crash from the radiation and transplant, he was running full steam ahead. But then a couple weeks later, crash he did, and crash hard. He contracted a severe virus (adenovirus) which began to take over his respiratory tract and then moved into his bloodstream and his vital organs. It was determined that the bone marrow transplant had not been successful as engraftment had not taken place. And after a second radiation treatment and bone marrow transplant last week, Colton’s body could take no more, and he finished the struggle, cradled in his mama’s arms.
But let me be clear. Colton did not “die.” He simply passed into eternity. The body is merely a vessel; a container for the essence (or soul) of a person. Yes, the body does die, but the soul is eternal. I have personally witnessed what I consider to be evidence of this division of body and soul on more than a half dozen occasions. I know that seems odd, or at least it does to me. Why would someone who does not work in a field that would predispose them to being present at the passing of others, have been present at eight deaths? Well, practically speaking, all of the deaths were expected and the family or loved ones asked me to come and be with them, and I was honored to do so. But, ultimately, I think it was just on the curriculum the Ultimate Rabbi/Teacher has written for me. And just perhaps He wanted me to bear witness that the body is not the person and the person is not the body. In fact, I was there with Robin, when Colt’s grandpa Jim passed into eternity five years ago.
At least from my experience of observing the process of dying, when the last breath is taken and the spirit passes from the body, there is an immediate (and I do mean immediate) change that takes place. Taking on a plastic appearance, the body, specifically the facial features, instantly ceases to even resemble the person we knew and loved, and whose essence this vessel had so recently contained. The instant change is shocking to me, and somehow comforting as well. It becomes so obvious that it was the soul (and not the physical heart and lungs) that enlivened the person. Indeed, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spirit beings having a human experience.
Let’s illustrate this passing of the soul from the body with a mental exercise. Picture an empty glass jar with lid in place. What is inside the jar? Air, you might say. Suppose I break the jar into a thousand pieces. Have I destroyed the air? NO. The air has not been destroyed or harmed in any way. It has simply been released from the jar.
Yesterday, around 5:00 in the evening, Colton’s jar finally broke into a thousand pieces, and Colton was released from his glass prison. He heard Yeshua/Jesus call his name saying “Let the children come unto me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven” and his soul responded and was drawn like a magnet, passing through the pearly gates and into the Kingdom. Wow! (see Pearls – the Great Coverup for more on the beautiful significance of the pearly gates).
Jas 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Gen 35:18 And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
[big_title]Title[/big_title]TOO SMALL A THING
But couldn’t God have responded to the prayers of many and healed Colton here and now? Of COURSE He could have. But that kind of healing would have been too small a thing and only temporal.
Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Yes, He could have healed his body here and now, but He wanted much better for Colton. And because He wanted much better for Colt, He gave him much better. Our prayers for complete healing and a miracle were indeed answered; just not in the way we had imagined. No, it was much better than that! The flawed body was discarded and now Colton is truly healed in a sense we really cannot yet comprehend. Yes, there were “labor” pains over the last few weeks. It was uncomfortable, even painful, as the contractions got more and more intense and closer and closer together. But the end result….life, and life abundantly.
And yet our hearts break for parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends who have been “left behind” and are in pain. But that is as it should be, is it not? How horrible it would be if we could pass from shock to healed in a moment’s time when someone so important to us is no longer here. And surely it is never punishment for the Almighty to receive the innocent into His presence! Perhaps it might serve us well to lose the oft uttered adage “God took them” and replace it with “God received them.”
Ecc 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
When children or the innocent die, it just seems so unnatural, and prompts a difficult, but honest question.
“WHAT DID LITTLE COLTON EVER DO TO DESERVE SUCH A HORRIBLE DISEASE AND DEATH?”
This is a subject about which I have struggled in the past. I don’t believe I could have come to a satisfactory conclusion if it were not for the fact that Yahweh/God has been using the Creation Speaks, Romans 1:20 curriculum to school me in my “Higher” education over the past twenty or so years. And, because of that, I believe He has given me some insight that I pray you will find helpful.
If, as I have asserted, the Creator God has chosen to place us within this human existence for the purpose of using it as a teaching tool to educate us about things spiritual, then even this terrible disease process must be part of the lesson plan. Otherwise, we would have to conclude that our God is a cruel Master who could stop disease and death and yet chooses not to. So let’s talk about it. This will be just a brief discussion as this has been the topic of other posts on this site. It is, however, an important query, wouldn’t you agree?
How could a good and loving God allow such a thing as cancer or SAA, especially in a child? Surely He must have a very good reason, otherwise how could we describe Him as good?
The answer for me came after an extended struggle which began in earnest after watching a documentary on The Shroud of Turin. As you know, it is thought that this shroud was the burial garment of Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah. And whether you believe that it is authentically “that” burial shroud or not, the evidence does seem to indicate that it was the burial shroud of someone who was the victim of death by crucifixion, with evidence of a terrible flogging and suffering.
When I finished watching the documentary (this was many years ago but the documentary can still be found on youtube), I was weeping and asking God, why Yeshua’s death had to be so cruel? If death was the payment for sin, why was such a cruel death necessary? Why not simply make a public announcement that Yeshua would be dying for the sin debt of the people, gather in a public arena, and put Him to death? Death by hanging. Death by a blow to the head or a stab to the heart. But death, quick and clean. Why the cruelty? Why the lingering and suffering? I wept as I prayed. Why? Why?? Why??? If there IS a good reason for allowing such pain and such cruelty, surely He would not want to conceal that reason from us! If we are incapable of “getting” it, then what’s the point?
It wasn’t long before He answered my prayer for insight and understanding as He brought to my mind and heart the amazing truth. The answer began with this one simple verse.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You see, death is forever connected to sin, by His design! We knew that, didn’t we? It all started in the Garden of Eden when the first humans made the decision to choose their way over His way. And, amazingly, at that time, they had only ONE commandment to obey, and still they chose otherwise. He told them that “on the day that you eat of it, you (the human race at that time) will surely die. Why? Because He wanted to hold His thumb down on them and “make” them do what He said with no explanation? NO! Death was a merciful addition, for otherwise they would have lived on with sin piling upon sin. Yeshua’s death provided us a “do over” but was never intended to give us license to continue in our sin, Heaven forbid!
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
And indeed Adam and Eve did begin dying on the day that they ate from the forbidden tree. They started the process of dying from that point on, a process which He never wanted. And so it is with us.
Now that we know that when we look at death and dying, we are observing an illustration of the effects of sin, we can look at Yeshua’s death and see in it the revelation of the cruelty of sin. Sin wants to take us from a “garden” to a tomb. It desires to strip us naked, beat us, mock us, spit upon us, nail us to a tree where we are helpless to gain our release, inflict unbelievable pain, and then take our very life. Yes, sin is cruel and leads to spiritual pain, unbelievable spiritual suffering, and its goal is spiritual death.
Colton was a innocent child and pure of heart. But we all suffer from the results of sin, some of it being our own personal sin, and some being due to the state of this fallen world. Along with the beautiful pictures He paints of spiritual life and abundance, using the paintbrush of Creation, He must also provide for us the picture of the anguishing results of sin.
And because He has designed the physical to mimic the spiritual, even as it pertains to disease and dying, I believe it is possible to look at the course of different diseases, and gain insight into what happens on a spiritual level when we rebel against God.
Let’s just take a look at one disease; the one that ravaged precious Colton’s body, SAA, and the subsequent complications. Might we be able to discern spiritual parallels that would give us insight into the spiritual battle being waged between sin and righteousness? I am convinced that we could look at the entire process and see the spiritual parallels, but for right now, let’s just look at the end process, which took place over the past three weeks. Because Colton had no immune system (having been killed by the radiation, and the blood disease not allowing his body to build more), Colton’s body was susceptible to any attacker, in this case, the adenovirus. The adenovirus started rapidly multiplying, taking over more and more of Colton. It first invaded his respiratory system, and then found its way into his blood. It next began attacking his kidneys and liver, both of which are filter organs. So many toxins were being produced and the filter organs were not capable of pushing them out of Colton’s body as quickly as they were multiplying. Eventually, a tipping point was reached, and it was not possible to recover.
Isn’t it just like sin? It starts in one place but quickly spreads throughout our spiritual system. It attacks the respiratory system. The word for spirit and breath are the same word in the original language. So, we might say that sin’s first inlet is to attack us on the place that the Holy Spirit is supposed to residel. Next, the blood becomes involved for “life is in the blood.” If Satan can stop you from receiving the life giving blood, he can stop you altogether! Blood carries nourishment to every cell in every organ of the body and transports toxins away before they can cause harm. This perfectly illustrates the spiritual process that HaSatan (the Satan – the adversary) desires to disrupt! He does NOT want us receiving spiritual nourishment and he certainly does NOT want us receiving spiritual toxin removal (removal of our sin)! Disruption of either system can and will lead to spiritual death. If we receive no spiritual nourishment, we wither and die. If we receive nourishment but then we allow sin to take hold and choose to remain in that sin, then just like Colt’s adenovirus, we are headed for certain death. The spiritual toxins produced by our continued sin will multiply at such a rate that eventually our spiritual liver and kidneys, our spleen, our gallbladder, our tonsils, and even our skin (all filter organs) become so overwhelmed that they cannot keep up with the massive amount of spiritual toxins produced by sin. The result will be spiritual disease, which, left unchecked, will destroy us spiritually. (Take a look at Vamoose the Varmint for more on the fight against spiritual harassment.)
So, in this spiritual classroom in which we reside, it is not only vital that He teach us about spiritual birth through observing the process of human conception and delivery. It is JUST as imperative for us to know that there is an enemy (a spiritual disease – sin) that produces death instead of life. The process is not pretty and the end result is devastating! We can observe this through the reality of disease and death.
Now, certainly God could have rescued Colton from this physical enemy and indeed could rescue ALL who suffer from deadly diseases. But if He did, we would miss the opportunity to see that toxic sin does not only make us sick; it kills. By allowing cruel diseases in children and the innocent, He allows us to see that HaSatan wants to get to us when we are spiritually immature and vulnerable, and before we have been able to build a strong spiritual immune system. HaSatan is not omnipotent and usually uses the pathway of least resistance. This is why it is imperative that we continually build a strong spiritual immune system by consuming good spiritual food and avoiding spiritual junk food, and doing both on a regular basis.
Now, certainly understanding more of why He would allow such a process does not remove the pain of the bereaved. But perhaps it does help to remove the question of God’s goodness.
I am grateful that anything that happens to us here in this earthly existence is but an insignificant blip on the radar of eternity. I do not believe Colton is remembering the last agonizing year or the pain associated with it. We humans are such funny creatures. We act as though we are in the land of the living, headed towards the land of the dying, but isn’t it the other way around? Colton is no longer dying. He is living indeed!
I believe today, on his third birthday, Colty sees and understands things that no one alive can boast of understanding. Today is the seventh day of the week; Sabbath, the day of rest. And today, Colton is experiencing a kind of rest that we cannot comprehend. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY COLTY!
But for Jamie and Michael, Olivia and James and the rest of the Meadors family, as well as Robin and Becca and the rest of the Wells clan, I leave you with this Mercyme song, and a reminder that if we truly believe what we say we believe, Colton is in our future and not in our past and each day brings us one day closer to our reunion!