Modern psychology that does not address spiritual issues will fail. Further, if it does not address the issue that those spiritual forces can be positive or negative, it will only succeed in adding to the spiritual and mental confusion that now exists in society.
The author who made the above statement addresses an issue that exists today for modern man. U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, MD (in his landmark 1999 report on mental health) says: “Mental disorders affect nearly one in five Americans in any given year. They are the second-leading cause of disability and premature death in the U.S.”
Why does our modern society have so much confusion about spiritual issues? Why do so many have mental problems stemming from those same spiritual issues? Charles Colson, on his website www.breakpoint.org, had this to say in his commentary of 7/20/01: “Spiritual Dry . . .As I mentioned in the last broadcast, researchers George Barna and Mark Hatch argue in their new book, Boiling Point, that most Americans are deeply confused about spiritual matters. But shockingly Barna found that born-again Christians are almost as confused about the faith they profess as the rest of the public.1 What he was saying in short was that we have a breakdown in core Christian beliefs. Spiritual dry rot is the core problem in the Christian faith today.
There is much confusion about spiritual issues and many have mental problems stemming from those same spiritual issues. The problem may arise from making assumptions based upon a simple, but false premise. Perhaps the following statement will point us in the right direction. In 1943, the chairman of IBM, Thomas Watson, made the following prediction: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” In hindsight, we look back and say “how absurd!” But, Watson made his statement based upon his knowledge at the time. Let’s use a different example: When the Wright Brothers made their flight at Kitty Hawk 100 years ago, who could know the tremendous impact that small flight would have on our future world? We could not have known. We, as yet, do not have the ability to “see” future landmarks accurately.
Predictions and hindsight both start at a particular point of view in time. As such, they tend to rely on basic information from that viewpoint in time. Predictions look forward without solid empirical data to support their suppositions. Hindsight looks backward in time to conclusions based upon solid historical fact. Conclusions drawn upon inaccurate data, incorrect evidence, and invalid rule sets will produce confusing results.
For spiritual issues, confusion will continue to be the norm. This will be so—as long as they are viewed by today’s rules and scientific mindset. Spiritual issues and values do not play out by the same rules as empirical data, therefore, the spiritual arena must be approached within its own dynamic. That arena, let’s call it “Spiritual Dynamics” needs to be defined, refined, and a historical baseline established. To that end, let us look at a real-life story and see what direction it will provide.
The following story provides very interesting characteristics.
• The boy’s father was on a United flight to Washington, D.C., which stopped in
• Incident date was about July 22, 1999.
• He received a message (in Denver) that there was a family emergency.
• He called Mission Hospital trauma center and found out the following information:
• His 3-year old son had been trapped underneath the automatic garage door for several minutes.
• His wife found the 3-year old dead.
• The garage door had closed on his sternum right over his heart.
• CPR was performed by a neighbor who was a doctor.
• The paramedics continued the treatment as his son was transported to the Hospital.
• By the time of the father’s call, his son was revived and they believed he would live.
• They did not know how much damage was done to the child’s heart or brain.
• The father arrived at Mission Hospital six hours after the garage door had closed on his son’s chest.
• That night and the next day, the boy remained unconscious.
• He regained consciousness at two o’clock that afternoon.
• He developed no apparent side effects from the traumatic experience.
The story continues as related by the father. About a month later, the boy (let’s call him Brian) awoke from his nap and related the following to his mother:
He said: “Sit down mommy. I have something to tell you.” At this time in his life, Brian usually spoke in small phrases; so to say a large sentence surprised my wife. She sat down with him on his bed, and he began his remarkable story.
“Do you remember when I got stuck under the garage door? Well, it was so heavy and it hurt really bad. I called to you, but you couldn’t hear me. I started to cry, but then it hurt too bad. And then the ‘birdies’ came.”
“The birdies?” my wife asked puzzled.
“Yes,” he replied. “The birdies made a whooshing sound and flew into the garage. They took care of me.”
“Yes,” he said. “One of the birdies came and got you. She came to tell you I got stuck under the door.”
A sweet reverent feeling filled the room. The spirit was so strong and yet lighter than air. My wife realized that a three-year-old had no concept of death and spirits, so he was referring to the beings who came to him from beyond as “birdies” because they were up in the air like birds that fly.
“What did the birdies look like?” she asked..
Brian answered, “They were so beautiful. They were dressed in white, all white. Some of them had green and white.”
“Did they say anything?”
“Yes,” he answered. “They told me the baby would be all right.”
“The baby?” my wife asked confused..
Brian answered. “The baby laying on the garage floor.” He went on, “You came out and opened the garage door and ran to the baby. You told the baby to stay and not leave.”
My wife nearly collapsed upon hearing this, for she had indeed gone and knelt beside his body and seeing his crushed chest whispered, “Don’t leave us Son, please stay if you can.” As she listened to her son telling her the words she had spoken, she realized that the spirit had left his body and was looking down from above on this little lifeless form.
“Then what happened?” she asked.
“We went on a trip.” He said, “Far, far away.”
He grew agitated trying to say the things he didn’t seem to have the words for. My wife tried to calm and comfort him, and let him know it would be okay. He struggled with wanting to tell something that obviously was very important to him, but finding the words was difficult.
“We flew so fast up in the air. They’re so pretty Mommy,” he added. “And there are lots and lots of birdies.”
My wife was stunned. Into her mind the sweet comforting spirit enveloped her more soundly, but with an urgency she had never before known.
Her son went on to tell her that the “birdies” had told him that he had to come back and tell everyone about the “birdies.” He said they brought him back to the house and that a big fire truck, and an ambulance were there. A man was bringing the baby out on a white bed and he tried to tell the man that the baby would be okay, but the man couldn’t hear him. He said the birdies told him he had to go with the ambulance, but they would be near him. He said they were so pretty and so peaceful, and he didn’t want to come back.
Then the bright light came. He said that the light was so bright and so warm, and he loved the bright light so much. Someone was in the bright light and put their arms around him, and told him, “I love you but you have to go back. You have to play baseball, and tell everyone about the birdies.
“Then the person in the bright light kissed him and waved bye-bye. Then woosh, the big sound came and they went into the clouds.
The story went on for an hour. He taught us that “birdies” were always with us, but we don’t see them because we look with our eyes and we don’t hear them because we listen with our ears But they are always there. You can only see them in here (he put his hand over his heart). They whisper the things to help us to do what is right because they love us so much.
He continued, stating, “I have a plan, Mommy. You have a plan. Daddy has a plan. Everyone has a plan. We must all live our plan and keep our promises. The birdies help us to do that cause they love us so much.”
In the weeks that followed, he often came to us and told all, or part of it, again and again. Always the story remained the same. The details were never changed or out of order. A few times he added further bits of information and clarified the message he had already delivered. It never ceased to amaze us how he could tell such detail and speak beyond his ability when he talked about his birdies. Everywhere he went, he told strangers about the “birdies.” Surprisingly, no one ever looked at him strangely when he did this. Rather, they always got a softened look on their face and smiled.
Needless to say, we have not been the same ever since that day, and I pray we never will be.
This incident (and surely many others like it) gives some weight to spiritual phenomena and their possible impact on empirical evidence. Eyewitness stories bear out a physical result….