Sunday, May 07, 2006


Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God.
-- Matthew 5:8

Our good friends were living in Sheridan, Wyo., with their three small sons, when one day, adorable Tyler, 2½, starting walking at a slant and falling over, like a drunken sailor.

“Tyler! What are you doing, Buddy?” his mother laughed, thinking he was being silly. “Why do you keep losing your balance?”

“I can’t stand up, Mom,” was his reply.

Her smile vanished. He wasn’t kidding. She took him to the doctor. At first they thought he’d been poisoned, but the tox screens were clear.

Then the nightmare began in earnest: the CAT scan showed there was a mass on Tyler’s brainstem.

A mass!

A tumor!

Oh, my God!

But that’s all they knew without more extensive medical testing.

It was 3 p.m. on the day before the Christmas weekend, and most of the clinic staff had already left. The nearest facility with an MRI machine and spinal tap capability was in a hospital in Billings, Mont. It was two hours away . . . and they closed in two hours.

It was a total blur: she sped home and packed up bottles for Tyler’s baby brother, just three weeks old. She slogged his baby clothes from the washing machine into a plastic sack because there was no time to dry them. She tried to keep the baby happy, and Tyler and his older brother somewhat calm. Her husband picked them up with screeching tires, and they literally set sail for Billings. At the time, Montana didn’t have a speed limit. You can imagine.

All the way . . . every moment of that drive . . . they prayed. They got on their cell phones and called all their loved ones, everyone they knew, and got them to pray, too. It may be the only time in recorded history in which “prayers per minute” exceeded “miles per hour.”

They got there in time. Tyler went through all the tests, and spent the night in the hospital, where everybody fell in love with him. What’s not to love about a 2-year-old boy who was crazy about firetrucks, and chattered about his firetruck toys, and the firetrucks he’d crawled all over during his visit to the fire station, and how his grown-up cousin had let him try on his firefighter gear, and it was really, really cool.

Finally, Tyler dozed off, innocent and rosy-cheeked. They slept the fitful sleep of parents out of their minds with worry.

Next morning, the neurologist came in with the test results. He had a funny look on his face.

“Whatever was there, is gone,” he told the parents. “To be honest, I don’t know what happened. Maybe he had a virus. . . .”

Joy erupted all over everybody’s faces. They had no doubt it was the power of prayer.

They hugged their boys, and kissed them, and gathered up their stuff and started for home. They got the seats wet in the car with their tears. A couple of days later, they had the happiest Christmas ever, and then some.

Now fast-forward a few months. They were having supper. The older brother had some spiritual questions, as children do. He asked what heaven looks like, and whether his mom or dad had ever seen God, or talked to Him.

Before they could answer, little Tyler piped up from his high chair:

“I’ve seen God! I talked to Him, too!”

His parents exchanged glances, and smiled.

“Remember when I lost my balance and the doctors put me in that long machine?”

Hunh? They listened intently.

“I talked to Him then. He was really nice, Mom. He told me it was going to be OK . . .

“. . . and I should go on and ride some more firetrucks.”


Ride some more. . . .

They were so flabbergasted, they forgot to ask what God looked like. But that’s OK: they’ll see Him soon enough.

And something tells me He’ll have Tyler next to Him, and they’ll be riding in the biggest, shiniest firetruck you ever saw. I mean . . . it’ll be really, really cool. †

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