Today is my little “bump-on-a-log’s” seventeenth birthday. That’s seventeen more than we were told she’d have….
We were sitting in the doctor’s office in Houston when some young pup Physician’s Assistant comes in and tells us, “Well you might want to consider having her committed. She’s going to be… well… She’s going to be pretty much nothing but a ‘bump on a log.’ She’ll be nothing more than a vegetable. I mean, if she lives very long at all”
Today, Sophia turns seventeen years old – not bad for a “bump-on-a-log.” Not bad at all! She will never talk, but she communicates. She looks like five. She weighs like thirty-five pounds. She’s beyond seriously delayed but there’s stuff going on inside her bump-on-a-log brain.
She walks. That was never supposed to happen! She jumps for joy! They said that wouldn’t happen either. She’s the happiest Lutheran you’ll ever meet. She claps all through out the service! Someone should tell her that she’s not supposed to be that happy while singing all those hymns in minor keys by old dead guys!
She is an avid iPhone user. She will open your phone and look at your pictures–looking for people she knows. She will play your music. She likes dance music. “Gimme a beat!” And she loves to FaceTime! If the person on the other end is someone she knows, then let the smiles and laughs begin! How can they not? She’s a child of God. All things are hers–including your phone!
The world used to stop for Dora the Explorer and Blues Clues. But seventeen year old “Bump-on-a-Log” loves “Friends.” Is it Joey? Chandler? 90’s music? I don’t know! She’s not a fan of the commercials! She will point and issue you a direct order if you don’t fast forward through them! Who has time to sit and watch those anyway?!
She loves her friends. You are her friend — even if you don’t want to be! She’s got friends everywhere! Auntie Linda and Susan in Conroe. Her good friend Heidi in McHenry! She’s made some new friends at Immanuel too. Monica is teaching her to sing and play the bells. She stands at the door and watches for Tammy to show up. She’s got tons of God Parents too who she’s picked up along the way— the Jones’ and the Seydel’s. They make sure her big beautiful ears are always on Jesus! Mom’s always going to be her BFF. Then, the boys. Then Mikey the Dog. She and Thor are “Frienemies.” Personally, I’d like to think Dad’s moving up.
She’s confirmed too. Thank you, Pastor Buetow. She answered all the questions put to her with touchdown signs! Do you believe in God the Father Almighty? Touchdown! Do you believe in Jesus? Touchdown! The Holy Spirit even scored a touchdown too! Then, off to communion! “Take eat the Body and take drink the Blood of Jesus, Sophia.” She pauses, smiles, and then an “Amen” comes from her Ipad. Gift received! That’s faith!
She is Miss Sophia Marie Borghardt. That’s the name He gave her a Baptism. She knows she’s baptized. She even makes her own sign of the cross. Who she is isn’t determined by her, but by the Lord. He’s marked her with His Name. She wears His name all the time. She knows without doubt that Jesus went through suffering, hell, and death for her. He did anyway.
He has never abandoned her. Can’t – not after He put His name on her. He’s with her through bump-on-the-log time, when she’s sick in the hospital, during her seizures, during all those surgeries, during her pain so great that she can’t even get up, and even while she’s peeking to see if you are folding your hands to pray.
“How can you rejoice in sufferings? You’re faking it.” Some of my friends think that the way I see the world is too good to be true – as if I am delusional. They think that I am somehow out of touch with reality, living in a dreamland, or thinking that the dung pile really doesn’t stink.
No, I am quite aware that the dung pile does stink. I’ve smelled Sophia’s diapers. I know it does. But Jesus has taken on all of our poop (our sins) and redeemed us – especially those those of my bump-on-a-log.
It’s not a dream world that we live in nor is it fake. We don’t wake up and convince ourselves that the world is better than it is. Nope, it’s a rough world out there. There are genetic disorders, seizures, children who die, and those who are nothing but bumps-on-a-log.
But, what if Jesus does actually make all things new? What if He actually does take the light of His Gospel and shine through our darkness? What if…all that He said about us is true? What if our lives right now are hidden with Christ in God? What if Sophia’s life is hidden right now with God?
And if that is true then, it is true now. Right now… she is a child of God. Right now she is an heir to all things. Heaven and earth are hers in Christ. And no one – not even an angel from heaven – can take who she is in Christ away from her.
And that… might even cause you to smile even in the face of death. How could you not? For you have already died – having been crucified with Christ. You no longer live, but Christ lives in you. The life you got going on now, you live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you.
Some say that when I say that Sophia – sicknesses and all – is a gift from God that I am blaming God for evil. Nah, I am saying that in her Baptism all things are hers and all things are new. Yes, she has a Father who did that for her in the giving up of His Son. A Father who glorifies Himself in her life every day – even the life of a bump-on-a-log.
It is not a law to rejoice in your sufferings. You are free to suffer patiently. But, Sophia rejoices in her sufferings. You are free to rejoice with her. How could you not? Jesus makes all things new – on the Last Day and right now.
Today is bump-on-the-log’s birthday. That’s seventeen more than we were told she’d have. Come to think of it, no one ever told any of us how many birthdays our children would have. I guess all of us parents just have to take each day and see what the Lord gives.
And if she should be granted another day, that’ll be just fine. Another year? Even better!
But what if she should not wake up today? Well, that day has already happened to her on July 9, 2002 when a little three pound bump-on-a-log was drowned and died with three squirts from a syringe and the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ (Rev 21:5) In the name of Jesus. Amen.