He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. – Matthew chapter 18, vs. 2-5
I actually carry a small list of Bible scriptures in my wallet that move me and this one is among them. I like it because it illustrates that the faith of a child is stronger than most… and one that we all should strive to achieve. While it is a fairly well-known verse and one that perhaps doesn’t strike a chord with more well-versed Bible readers it still rings true and offers me some kind of hope as faith becomes more difficult in our present times.
Sometimes the faith of a child does nothing but re-energize my need for spiritual fulfillment.
I’ve written a few times about a young boy named Jackson who, not even a year ago, was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. A cancer also known as DIPG, it is (in layman terms) an inoperable tumor imbedded in one’s brainstem which, pending a miracle, gives its victim a maximum of only two more years to live.
Jackson remained strong in his Christian faith even as the steroids he took made him gain an unusual amount of weight and his sickness gave him terrible nausea, pushed his left eye at an odd angle and as his chemo made him overly tired. His strength through it all weakened my knees a little and brought a never-ending barrage of lumps to my throat. Not too long ago, I wrote about how our most recent meeting during Bunny’s birthday moved my faith to new heights.
With the nature of the disease he was fighting and the timeline the doctors had given him… I often wondered if each time I saw him might be my last.
As it turned out, Bunny’s birthday was indeed the last time I’d see Jackson.
Last night, twenty minutes before midnight, Jackson lost the battle he fought so bravely. He was approaching his seventh birthday.
I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how, as a parent, you’d survive the death of a child so innocent and pure. Words escape me and there is nothing I feel I can say or do to ease the unimaginable canyon that has been carved through the souls of his family. I feel I can only write and tell the small sliver of the Earth’s population who read me what an effect Jackson had on me. Although he lived only six and a half years and spent perhaps only four hours of those years making an impression on me and countless others… I have no doubt his life had an incredible meaning.
The last thing I told him amidst giving him a hug was that I loved him… and I’m so glad that I did.
I have no doubt that Jackson will make the most beautiful angel…
If you’d like to offer words of encouragement to his grieving family, read more about Jackson’s life or want to watch videos of him during happier times, feel free to do so at Jackson’s CaringBridge website or at his website: JacksonsMiricle.com.