The Easter Story

**Disclaimer - I apologize if this story catches anyone off guard. It is difficult to call everyone who deserves calling when things like this happen. I hope you can forgive me if this is the first place you get this news.

Every year I struggle with the same thing. As Easter approaches, I try desperately to try and make it more personal for myself. The mere thought of this holiday, the death and eventual resurrection of the man/God I call my savior, makes it seem this would be easy. In many ways, this should be more personal than Christmas.

And yet I have struggled. I have struggled to allow the loving God I know to truly penetrate my heart on this day. It may be out of fear, or pride, or simply a lack of focus. However that all changed yesterday.

It started as a relatively normal day. The night before Leah woke us up with a very high fever which we attributed to her ongoing teething. We gave her Tylenol, cooled her down, and went to bed.

The next day I was in the office as usual. My mom was visiting from Appleton and went with Jamie and Leah to a birthday party for one of Leah's friends. As I was finishing up my work for the day, I heard the horn from our car repeatedly. I looked out the window to see Jamie driving our car quickly towards the office, frantically waving me outside.

I ran outside and met her as she was yelling to me "Leah's not okay!" through her tears. I ran to the side of the car and saw Leah in her car seat, convulsing. My mom was at her side, unsure what to do. To be honest, none of us knew what to do.

We quickly brought her inside the office and Jamie held Leah as I called 911. I told the dispatcher about the situation and watched as Leah shook and her eyes rolled back into her head. This was bad. Her breathing was labored and her body was very rigid.

It seemed like the ambulance was never going to arrive. I watched as Leah suddenly went limp and her lips turned blue. She appeared to stop breathing for a few seconds and as we leaned her forward a stream of bubbles and saliva fell from her mouth. She was suffocating. Now that she could breath again, her color returned.

"What is taking them so long to get here?" I thought, "Dear God, don't let my daughter die. I can't handle this. I love her too much."

And then I saw a truck pull towards the office. I quickly waved them inside where Leah was conscious, but not very coherent. I couldn't help but wonder if my daughter was going to be mentally handicapped from the trauma.

I watched as first responders quickly gave her oxygen and slowly brought life back to Leah. She was crying now but still had a distant look in her eyes. Was she ever going to recover from this?

Several hours later, after numerous tests at the Portage hospital, we would learn that Leah suffered a seizure from a sudden spike in her temperature. The fever she had was not just teething. She had a bladder infection that had spread through out her body. There was no real way for us to predict this, but all the same we can't help but feel responsible to some degree.

Fast forward to the next day (Easter Sunday) and Leah is doing much better. Her fever is down and she is back to herself. She even enjoyed finding Easter eggs hidden throughout the living room this morning (filled with dried fruit).

As I went to Portage this morning to pick-up Leah's prescription, I couldn't help but think about how this feeling of almost losing a child is what Easter is really about. The feeling of hopeless, no-control, chaos is the Easter story. How do you think the disciples felt as they watched Jesus commit himself to die? How do you think even Pontius Pilate felt as he washed his hands of the entire situation? This man was going to die and nothing could save him.

When I saw Leah so lifeless and limp, I could do nothing to save her. I could not breath life back into her. It was only be the grace of God that the human body restarts from a seizure.

I walked into the house with Leah's prescription in hand and as I took my shoes off, Leah walked up to me with a something in her hand (as she often does). I reached down and looked at her gift to me. It was a pregnancy test. With two lines. We are having another child.

So as usual, I am forced to revise my thoughts on God. The Easter story is not about the hopelessness, the lack of control or chaos. It is about new life. It is about the gift God gives us through the grace of His son and the love He has for His children.

It has been an overwhelming 24 hours. But I feel as though I understand the loss and gain of Christ so much clearly today than I ever did or could before. Thank you for the plan of salvation and escape from death Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:50-57
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Jeanne said...

I am so thankful for Leah, and for new life. Alleluia!

Emil said...

Wow...what an amazing story! Congrats on your second child!

joshua.michael said...

hi man...this is tammy...jamie mentioned the story to me when i called this morning. i am moved by your amazing parallel! really cool. i didn't put it together when jamie told me the story and was touched by your post. i hope we can see you sometime this summer. take care of that sicky wife! love you guys...t

joshua.michael said...

Amazing post man! Tammy told me the story this morning. But how it connected you with Easter is pretty amazing.

matt said...

Thanks for this story. I really enjoyed it. I posted a link to it on my blog, I hope that's ok. I can take it down if you'd like.

ryan said...

I threw you guys in our prayer requests last night at bible study, people's jaws dropped at the emotional ride over 24 hours...then the comparison you drew with Easter was outstanding. Well done.