Mercy Me! I've got work to do.

Mercy Me — I've got work to do! making the world a better place – starting with me.

Heaven is for real; Earth is for miracles

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You know that big spread in the high school yearbook where the senior superlatives tout the “most attractive,” “most athletic,” “best all around,” etc.?

Well, I didn’t get one.

Instead, I was on another page in our yearbook where there were more non-traditional, dubious superlatives assigned. Some were “Eddie Haskell Award,” “Biggest Flirt,” “Most Likely to Burn Down the School,” and “Could Give the Best Dirty Look.”

The one picked for me was “Most Gullible.”

I like to think it was a fancy way of calling me nice. Or, maybe someone just told me that is what it meant and I believed them.

In any case, I have not bought any swamp land, taken any wooden nickels or sent any money to Nigeria, so I think I am doing okay.

Still, when the book, Heaven is for Real came out and I learned the story of Todd Burpo’s son, Colton, who went to heaven during an emergency appendectomy, I believed it.

I believe in God, in miracles and in heaven, so to me none of it is too far-fetched.

Miracles are all around us. I think we just get kind of numb to them. We go to the beach and we forget to marvel at the vastness of the ocean teeming with exotic life. Someone has a baby and we may think to make a casserole, but we don’t stop and think how absolutely phenomenal it is that a man and a woman can create life.

But Colton went to heaven. Heaven.

The Burpo family gave a talk at a nearby church tonight and my family and I attended. I didn’t go as a skeptic, but as a believer.

Burpo talked about how angry he was with God when he thought he was going to lose his son. I loved that he went to God with his anger. I think our inclination is to turn away from God when we feel such rage.

As Burpo tells it, while he was raging on God, his son Colton was sitting in Jesus’s lap. I thought that was such a poignant image to think about. When we feel angry, ignored or betrayed by God, it rarely occurs to us that He is indeed with us, embracing us. We are always in His care.

Burpo, a pastor, spoke about his struggle with faith when he was confronted with his son’s account of heaven. Perhaps, that was what was hardest for me to grasp.

I had no trouble believing, why did he?

But then I think of what it is like before the book, the New York Times Best Seller’s lists, the movie, all of which validated the possibility of this miracle. I thought of the clarity of Colton’s claims, some of which go against traditional church teachings such as animals being in heaven. I thought of Burpo putting his career and reputation on the line to stand up to such an incredulous notion that a child that never even died went to heaven — not came from heaven, but went to heaven; sat on Jesus’s lap; saw the sister who was never born; hung out with some angels and then came back to this reality which is not nearly as pleasant, but that we are all more comfortable believing.

And, I understood his doubt and was left in awe of his faith to work past those doubts, to take the risks that he did and to share his miracle with the world.

One of my most favorite things that I heard Burpo say though was that his son was not special. I believe him. I listened to Colton speak and I listened to him sing. I think he is a great kid. But so are my kids and so are yours and so are the ones in Africa, China and Timbuktu.

I believe in an extraordinary God and I believe in the ordinariness of His people in the sense that none of us are without sin. I believe in equality and although it is lacking on earth, I believe that God loves us all passionately and individually – but not one more than the other. I do not believe that He has favorites. I do not believe He gives out superlatives.

Colton experienced a miracle, and I bet you have too. We need to remember to look for the miracles in our lives because they remind us of God’s enduring love. They strengthen our faith and help us get through times of doubt.

His miracles are never ordinary, but I dare say they are often. Whether they get shared with the world or not, whether you believe in them is up to you.

As for me, “Most Gullible, Class of 1990,” I choose to believe.

If you have experienced a miracle in your life, please share it in the comment section. If you believe in miracles, please share this post with someone. Praying for miracles today and the openness, the willingness to notice them.

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Author: Lara Patangan

Mercy me, I’ve got work to do… is a blog I started on my 40th birthday to chronicle my experiences spending the year doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy. No longer on the cusp of a new decade, I am still here finding that much work remains – in the world, my community, my relationship with God and perhaps most challenging, within myself. Please sign up and join me as we share the work that matters most – being better people. In hopes that when the decades cease to pass the world will still whisper of the graces left in our wake.

10 thoughts on “Heaven is for real; Earth is for miracles

  1. I love reading your blog, Lara.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My superlative, if I had gotten one, would have been “most innocent” or “biggest goody goody”. Those were the words I heard much too often in high school. Of course I can only hope my kids will be similar, especially in this day and age! I read this book when it first came out and believed right away too. I bought the children’s version and we loved the movie. I believe “Heaven is For Real”!

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    • Ashley, The labels we get in life our always interesting huh? Trust me, if I had a daughter I would love her to have the most innocent superlative! I say good for you! Everyone grows up to quick these days. Unfortunately, that is also for real!

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  3. Lara, I have read all of your blogs and I comment on none…… this has weight. I take something from them all. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A couple of weeks ago, Lily and I went to Target in search for a hair wand that gives you ringlets (Lily must have seen a commercial). When we got to the hair section of the store, Lily blankly gazed at the display. She thought it was going to be a MAGIC wand that made her hair curly!
    I think we are like that with miracles..we expect POOF, you’re cured! type miracles, and we seemingly ignore little miracles that happen every day..
    I love that Todd Burpo believed his son, took a risk, and made all of us believers smile!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Wait a great example, Molly. I love this. It could be its own post! Really, you are so right we expect poof and magic and great hair! No wrinkles, no cellulite, a winning lottery ticket and an advance to go straight to heaven too. Nothing is that easy, but at least Heaven is worth it. I can’t think of anything more worth an eternal afterlife! Please tell Miss Lily that I would dare say more flat irons are sold in this country than curling irons! But I will certainly check out this hair wand next time in my Target! And thank you again for leaving such a perfect example.

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  5. You take moments that most people experience and turn them into beautiful and intriguing lessons….thank you for sharing your writing, thoughts, and ‘realness’ with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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