Saturday, September 29, 2012

A surprising reaction

I read a book a few months ago titled, Heaven is for Real.  It's about  four year old Colton Burpo's experience visiting heaven after a ruptured appendix.  He claims to have met his baby sister, his grandfather and most incredibly, Jesus.  The story is really quite remarkable.  For some time afterward Colton and his father played a game where they would go through all the available pictures of Christ to see which one was the most accurate.  This went on for some time and none of the pictures were ever quite right.  His father heard of another little girl, Akiane, who also claims to have visited heaven but is also a child prodigy and creates amazing artwork.  She did this portrait of Christ at eight years old. 

Colton's father pulled up the image on his computer and called him in to look at it.  He did not give any introduction or explanation.  According to the book Colton froze and said, "That's Him." 

I found the whole thing fascinating.  After reading that part in the book I got up holding Aaron, who was 14 months old at the time, and I went to look up Akiane's portrait of Christ.

Aaron literally jumped off my lap toward the computer screen.  Just for the record, I had NEVER sat with him looking at pictures of Jesus or repeating His name.  Aaron said, "Jesus".  Now understand that this kid says, "Momma" and "Na-Na" for nursing.  That's pretty much the extent of his coherent words.  I was completely blown away and I quickly grabbed a phone to hoping to capture it. He did say Jesus again but it was almost a whisper, so I cut the video down to the part where he said it again.  It's at the very beginning.  I know this may be a very controversial claim but I make no apologies or excuses.  That's what happened. 

So why should Aaron get so excited and know the name Jesus?  Aaron has never had a near death experience.  
We believe in a premortal existence and that babies come from the presence of God.  I believe babies come still able to remember.  Gradually that memory is veiled with forgetfulness.  This life is a test for our faith and obedience, so if we continued to remember being with our Heavenly Father past babyhood it wouldn't be much of a test.

I have occasionally pulled up the picture of Akiane's Jesus, and while Aaron's reaction is not nearly so surprising he does still love to look at it.  He will climb up onto the desk to sit close to the computer screen and touch the portrait's eyes and mouth and even lean over to kiss His face.  It's very endearing.

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