I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone [just one grain, never more]. But if it dies, it produces much grain and yields a harvest.
-John 12:24 TPT-
Luke & Elise Whitfield
Our lives changed forever on June 29th, 2020 when we found our fifteen year old son, Payton, unconscious and lifeless on the floor of his bedroom. Payton is our third of six children and was playing in a hammock when we believed he slipped, fell and broke his neck. Needless to say our hearts are sore as we have had to process the transition of Payton from his earthly assignment into his Heavenly one.
So many emotions and questions well up walking through an impossible situation like the sudden lose of a child. Where was God…how could He let something like this happen…..was there something I could have done to prevent this? These and many others were the questions that began to bombard us in the moments, days and weeks following Patyon’s Heavenly transition. The night Payton passed, the Holy Spirit reminded me, as I was driving back from dropping his body off at the morgue, that Pappa God knows what it is like to give up a Son for a season (John 3:16). I was also reminded that there is a PEACE that goes beyond the human ability to comprehend; to get it, one has to give up the right to understand what it happening (Philippians 4:7). Those two TRUTHS changed everything. While it did not take away the sting of the physical separation we were immediately feeling, it did arouse our Hope that God knew what we were going through and so would also have a redemption solution to the valley we are walking through, even when we can not see it. Romans 8:28 came to mind……God works “all things” together for good to those who believe and are called His Children. This one promise became our CONFESSION, that if God is good all the time then He has to be good even in the midst of our darkest hours. Proverbs 18:21 says that the power of life and death is in the words we speak. As we started to confess God’s Goodness, even when we didn’t feel it, an amazing thing happened…..we started to notice and experience His PRESENCE in the process of grieving and mourning.
About a week after Payton’s passing, my wife was crying out to God that she needed to know that Payton was ok. From a place of deep despair and desperation she believed God is a giver of “good gifts” and He wouldn’t fail to respond. The next night we received an account of a dream a dear friend of ours had about Payton in Heaven. This friend dreamed she saw Payton playing with many little children in a Heavenly river. Next our friend saw Jesus come and join Payton and the children in splashing and jumping in the water all shouting and laughing with an abundance of JOY. Our friend asked Jesus who all these little children playing with Payton in the river were? Jesus answered, “these are the aborted babies of the nations, Payton has a very important assignment and authority in caring for them as they grow up in Heaven”! The dream continued with scenes of Payton playing his ukulele in a field of singing yellow flowers surrounded by the children and Jesus. Our friend also saw Payton’s home in Heaven, a massive Peter Pan-like treehouse set high in the top of an expansive tree. We were completely overwhelm at the specific detail of this dream for several reasons. What our friend had no awareness of prior to the dream was that Payton loved playing with little children during his time here on Earth. He also loved to sing and play his ukulele, often filling our home with the sounds of his infectious laugh. She was also unaware that the logo for the ministry we run here in Southern Africa is a huge tree.
The impact this dream has had on our process of grieving is indescribable. Another friend shared, after hearing the dream, that Holy Spirit dropped the phrase “on Earth…..as it is in Heaven” in his spirit as he listened. He reminded us that while Payton had fulfilled his earthly assignment in 15 years, that he now shifted to his Heavenly position joining the great cloud of Witnesses interceding and cheering us on from Heaven (Hebrews 12). Our friend also shared that the position and authority Payton possessed “in Heaven” paralleled a position and authority we as a family would walk in here “on Earth”. We aren’t sure how that all works but it gives us hope to remember that Patyon is still a part of the work God has placed before us as a family. Really all that has changed, is that Payton does it now from a perspective of knowing the fullness of God’s goodness.
All of these amazing manifestations of God’s compassion and goodness help us protect our CONFESSION that God’s goodness will continue to find and follow us in the weeks, months and years to come. There will definitely be more valleys on the road ahead; knowing God designed us to come through them with Him gives us HOPE to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Our experiences over these past six weeks have also reminded us that what we call “life”, the idea of our physical birth till our physical death, is such a small part of the bigger story. And yet, while small, it is crucial in determining what and where we will spend all of eternity. What we do with the time God has apportioned each of us here on earth, will ultimately determine what we will do for all of our eternal lives. With that perspective in mind, it is easier to look at our son’s physical departure with an understanding that it isn’t goodbye forever, rather, it is we will see you when we get there!
Dear reader…..do you know where you will be and what you will be doing for all eternity? It shouldn’t be a scary question when you consider that if God has made a plan for the millions of aborted babies to be cared for as they grow up in Heaven, He also made a plan for you. You can’t earn it or buy it, and being from the wrong family can’t deny you from it. Your eternal security and peace is a gift that you must reject or RECEIVE. We believe Payton’s life is a seed planted, which in turn, will produce a harvest for Heaven that we could never have imagined. There is power in TESTIMONY. We believe that what God has done in bringing healing, restoration and hope in the middle of our great storm, will be the same experience that finds you regardless of what faces you ahead. God is GOOD friend, He is far better than we could ever imagine. Shalom!
이 땅의 임무를 마치고 천국에서 임무를 이행하게 된 나의 아들
2020년 6월 29일, 15살 된 우리 아들 페이튼이 의식도 없고 숨이 끊어진 상태로 발견되었습니다. 이후 우리 가족의 삶은 영원히 바뀌었습니다. 페이튼은 육남매중 세째로 해먹에서 놀다가 떨어져 목이 부러진 것으로 보입니다. 찢어지는 아픔을 설명할 길이 있을까요. 페이튼은 이 땅에서 다하지 못한 사명을 천국에서 이행하게 되었습니다.
자식을 갑자기 잃고 나니 감정이 북받쳐오르고 질문이 쏟아졌습니다. 하나님은 어디 계셨던 걸까… 하나님은 어떻게 이런 일이 일어나게 허락하실 수 있었을까… 내가 이 사고를 막기 위해 무엇을 할 수 있었을까… 페이튼이 세상을 떠난 후 이런 생각들이 계속해서 우리 가족들의 마음을 파고들었습니다.
페이튼이 세상을 떠난 날, 아이의 시신을 영안실에 전달하고 오는 길에, 요한복음 3장 16절에 나오듯 아들을 잠시 잃는다는 것이 어떤 것인지 아버지 하나님께서 알고 계신다는 것을 성령님께서 상기시켜 주셨습니다. 또, 사람의 이해를 뛰어넘는 평강이 있다는 것과, 그 평강을 얻기 위해서는 무슨 일이 일어나는지 다 이해하겠다는 나의 권리를 포기해야 함을 알려주셨습니다. 이 두가지 진실은 모든 것을 바꿔놓았습니다.
아들과 제가 육체적으로 떨어지게 되었다는 고통은 여전했지만, 하나님께서 우리 가족이 겪고 있는 일을 알고 계셨고, 따라서 우리 가족들이 겪는 고통의 골짜기에서 가족들을 건져내실 방법도 알고 계실 것이라는 희망이 생겼습니다. 우리 눈에는 그것이 보이지 않을지라도 말입니다.
로마서 8장 28절이 떠올랐습니다. “하나님을 사랑하는 자들 곧 그분의 목적에 따라 부르심을 받은 자들에게는 모든 것이 협력하여 선을 이루느니라.” 이 말씀은 우리 가족의 고백이 되었습니다. 만일 하나님이 항상 선하시다면, 가장 어두운 순간에도 선하실 것이기 때문입니다. 잠언 18장 21절은 우리의 사망과 생명이 혀의 권능 안에 있다고 했습니다. 우리 가족들은 전혀 그럴 기분이 아니었음에도 불구하고 하나님의 선하심을 고백하기 시작했습니다. 그러자, 정말 놀라운 일이 일어났습니다. 가족들 모두 슬퍼하고 애통해하는 가운데 하나님의 임재가 느껴졌습니다.
페이튼이 세상을 떠난 일주일 후, 제 아내는 페이튼이 정말 잘 있는지 알고싶다고 하나님께 울부짖었습니다. 깊은 절망 속에서 아내는 하나님이 좋은 선물을 주시는 분이시며 반드시 응답하시는 분임을 믿었습니다.
다음날 밤, 친구 중 한명이 페이튼이 천국에 있는 꿈을 꾸었고, 우리에게 알려주었습니다. 그 친구는 천국의 강에서 많은 아이들과 함께 페이튼이 놀고 있는 것을 보았습니다. 예수님이 페이튼과 아이들이 있는 곳으로 다가와 강물에서 다함께 물장구를 치고 뛰어놀면서 기쁨으로 가득차 소리치고 웃는 모습이었습니다. 그 친구는 이 아이들이 누구냐고 예수님께 여쭤봤습니다. 예수님께서 대답하셨습니다. “이 아이들은 나라마다 낙태된 아이들이란다. 이 아이들이 천국에서 자라는 동안 페이튼은 이 아이들을 돌보아야 할 중요한 임무와 권한이 있단다!”
다음 장면은 페이튼이 우쿨렐레를 치는 장면이었습니다. 페이튼은 노란 꽃들이 노래하는 들판에서 아이들과 예수님에 둘러싸여 있었습니다. 그 친구는 페이튼이 천국에서 사는 집도 보았습니다. 엄청나게 뻗어있는 큰 나무의 꼭대기에 지어진, 마치 피터팬의 집 같은 나무집이었습니다.
우리 가족들은 이 자세한 꿈 이야기를 듣고 완전히 뒤로 넘어갈뻔했는데, 몇가지 이유가 있습니다. 그 친구는 페이튼이 세상에 있을 때, 어린 아이들과 노는 것을 좋아했다는 사실을 몰랐습니다. 페이튼이 우쿨렐레를 치는 것과 노래하는 것을 좋아해서 전염성 강한 웃음소리로 집안을 가득 채운다는 것도 몰랐습니다. 또 우리 가족이 일하고 있는 남부 아프리카의 사역단체의 로고가 커다란 나무인데, 그 친구는 그것도 몰랐습니다.
슬픔을 겪고 있는 우리 가족들에게 이 꿈이 주는 영향력은 굉장했습니다. 다른 친구에게 이 꿈 이야기를 들려주자, 그 친구는 성령님으로부터 이런 말씀을 받았습니다. “하늘에서와 같이 땅에서도 이루어지게 하소서…” 그 친구는 페이튼이 이 땅에 사는 15년동안 자신의 임무를 마쳤고, 지금은 천국에서 자신의 임무를 이행하면서 구름같은 증인의 무리가 되어 땅에 있는 우리를 중보하고 격려하는 임무를 맡게 되었다고 말해주었습니다. (히브리서 12장) 제 친구는 페이튼이 천국에서 맡은 임무와 땅에서 우리 가족들이 맡은 임무가 비슷하다는 것도 알려주었습니다. 우리 가족들은 어떻게 그럴 수 있는지 잘 알지 못하지만 , 하나님께서 우리 가족에게 주신 일을 하는데 페이튼이 여전히 함께하고 있다는 사실은 희망이 되었습니다. 하나님의 선하심의 충만하심을 알게 되자, 페이튼의 일을 보는 관점이 전혀 달라졌습니다.
하나님의 긍휼과 선하심을 경험하고 나자, 하나님의 선하심이 우리를 다음 주에도, 다음 달에도, 다음 에도 계속 따를 것이라는 것을 고백하게 되었습니다. 우리의 앞길에는 많은 고비가 있을 테지만, 하나님이 함께하셔서 우리가 그것을 넘도록 만드실 것임을 알고 나니 앞으로 나아갈 수 있는 희망이 생겼습니다.
지난 여섯 주 동안, 우리가 “삶”이라고 부르는 출생부터 죽음까지의 시간은 거대한 이야기의 아주 작은 부분임을 알게 되었습니다. 하지만 이 시간은, 작은 부분임에도 우리가 어디에서 영원한 삶을 보낼 것인지 결정하는 절대적인 시간이기도 합니다. 하나님께서 이땅에서의 삶을 허락하시는 이 시간동안 우리가 하는 행동은, 우리가 영원한 삶이 주어졌을 때 무엇을 할지 결정하게 됩니다. 이런 시각으로 바라보니 우리 아들이 이 세상을 떠난 사건은 제게 영원한 작별이 아니라 “나중에 천국 가면 보자!”로 바뀌었습니다.
독자들께 묻습니다. 당신이 세상을 떠나면 그 영원한 시간동안 어디에 있게 될지, 무엇을 하게 될지 알고 있습니까? 이 질문이 두려운 질문이 되어서는 안됩니다. 하나님께서 낙태된 수백만의 아이들이 천국에서 자랄때 돌볾을 받도록 그들의 삶에 계획을 세워 놓으셨다면, 당신을 위해서도 계획을 세워 놓으신 것이 분명합니다. 그 계획은 당신이 노력해서 얻거나 돈주고 살 수 있는 것이 아닙니다. 불행한 가정에서 태어났다고 부정할 수 있는 것도 아닙니다. 당신에게 주어진 영원한 안전과 평화는 당신이 거절할 수도 있도 받을 수도 있습니다. 그것은 당신의 선택입니다.
우리는 페이튼이 땅에 심긴 하나의 밀알이 되었고, 우리가 상상조차 할수 없는 천국의 수확을 거둘 것을 믿습니다.
간증에는 힘이 있습니다. 우리는 우리 가족이 겪은 엄청난 폭풍의 시간 속에 하나님께서 보여주신 치유와 희망이 이것을 읽는 독자들에게도 일어날 것임을 믿습니다. 하니님은 좋은 친구이십니다. 하나님은 우리가 상상하는 것보다 훨씬 좋은 분입니다. 샬롬!
Contact Luke & Elise Whitfield
Relevant Bible Verses (Click to Open)
Hebrew 12 TPT
The Great Cloud of Witnesses
1As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.
2We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!
3So consider carefully how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won’t become worn down and cave in under life’s pressures.
4After all, you have not yet reached the point of sweating blood in your opposition to sin.
5And have you forgotten his encouraging words spoken to you as his children? He said,“My child, don’t underestimate the valueof the discipline and training of the Lord God,or get depressed when he has to correct you.
6For the Lord’s training of your lifeis the evidence of his faithful love.And when he draws you to himself,it proves you are his delightful child.”
7Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected?
8We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship. For if we have never once endured his correction it only proves we are strangers and not sons.
9And isn’t it true that we respect our earthly fathers even though they corrected and disciplined us? Then we should demonstrate an even greater respect for God, our spiritual Father, as we submit to his life-giving discipline.
10Our parents corrected us for the short time of our childhood as it seemed good to them. But God corrects us throughout our lives for our own good, giving us an invitation to share his holiness.
11Now all discipline seems to be more pain than pleasure at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bringing a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who yield to it.
12So be made strong even in your weakness by lifting up your tired hands in prayer and worship. And strengthen your weak knees,
13for as you keep walking forward on God’s paths all your stumbling ways will be divinely healed!
14In every relationship be swift to choose peace over competition, and run swiftly toward holiness, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
15Watch over each other to make sure that no one misses the revelation of God’s grace. And make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many.
16Be careful that no one among you lives in immorality, becoming careless about God’s blessings, like Esau who traded away his rights as the firstborn for a simple meal.
17And we know that later on when he wanted to inherit his father’s blessing, he was turned away, even though he begged for it with bitter tears, for it was too late then to repent.
Entering into God’s Presence
18For we are not coming, as Moses did, to a physical mountain with its burning fire, thick clouds of darkness and gloom, and with a raging whirlwind.
19We are not those who are being warned by the jarring blast of a trumpet and the thundering voice; the fearful voice that they begged to be silenced.
20They couldn’t handle God’s command that said,“If so much as an animal approaches the mountain it is to be stoned to death!”
21The astounding phenomena Moses witnessed caused him to shudder with fear and he could only say, “I am trembling in terror!”
22By contrast, we have already come near to God in a totally different realm, the Zion-realm, for we have entered the city of the Living God, which is the New Jerusalem in heaven! We have joined the festal gathering of myriads of angels in their joyous celebration!
23And as members of the church of the Firstborn all our names have been legally registered as citizens of heaven! And we have come before God who judges all, and who lives among the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect in his eyes!
24And we have come to Jesus who established a new covenant with his blood sprinkled upon the mercy seat; blood that continues to speak from heaven, “forgiveness,” a better message than Abel’s blood that cries from the earth, “justice.”
25Make very sure that you never refuse to listen to God when he speaks! For the God who spoke on earth from Sinai is the same God who now speaks from heaven. Those who heard him speak his living Word on earth found nowhere to hide, so what chance is there for us to escape if we turn our backs on God and refuse to hear his warnings as he speaks from heaven?
26The earth was rocked at the sound of his voice from the mountain, but now he has promised,“Once and for all I will not only shake the systems of the world,but also the unseen powers in the heavenly realm!”
27Now this phrase “once and for all” clearly indicates the final removal of things that are shaking, that is, the old order, so only what is unshakeable will remain.
28Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights his heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe.
29For our God is a holy, devouring fire!
Proverbs 18:21 AMP
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.
Romans 8:28 TPT
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.
Blessing Prayer from the Author
“Pappa I just release Your goodness over every reader who will discover this account. I thank You that You are not a respecter of people and what you will do for one of your children you will do for all of them. Thank you that there is no situation or past mistake so great that your love is not able to completely heal and restore it. Pappa your heart is that none of your Children would perish and so I just release the revelation of your Father’s Heart over every one of your children who will read of your goodness on these pages. To you receiving this prayer, Pappa God wants you to know that its ok to dream and hope again! He wants you to know that you haven’t done anything so horrible that He doesn’t have a redemptive solution for. He also wants you to know that He has not removed His love from you because of all those things in your past that no one else knows about. He invites you to receive His Gift of Salvation, making you without fault in His sight because when He looks at you, He sees the perfect Blood of Jesus. Thank you Pappa that your goodness and mercy would bind up the brokenhearted and give beauty to those whose lives have been reduced to ashes. You are so Good Pappa and we glorify and exalt You. Let Your Kingdom come, let Your Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Amen”