It’s always interesting when people question your mental health.
Last year about this time, my book “The Forty Days – A Vision of Christ’s Lost Weeks” got some attention.
On the air and in print, I described the fact that the contents of the book came to me in a very surreal and powerful way. Why do I say that? Because, just like it says in the book’s title I admitted that I had a vision.
That admission elicited a number of comments directed my way personally, via email, and even phone. Most were incredibly supportive and encouraging while some were much less so and questioned both my judgement and sanity for daring to articulate the way the book came into my mind.
I am good with all of that.
Before the book came out, I spoke with over a dozen ministers and priests describing both the theme of the book and the unusual way that the theme flashed into my head.
To a person, they said it was my obligation to especially relate the backstory of how the story came to me.
I explained to them that I would never claim anything “spiritual” happened to me. Ever. That said, I told them that I was honestly not sure what did happen and that if others wanted to offer-up a secular explanations of too much caffeine, not enough sleep, or that I was in fact, crazy, I was more than comfortable with that.
In a time of escalating misery, uncertainty, fear and doubt in our which world, which has led more and more good people to walk away from their faith, I felt certain that my unique story would at least touch and lift some people.
So here it is: the backstory that has caused some to question my mental well-being.
As a child, I grew up in abject poverty and was often homeless. At age 5, I came into possession of a little plastic Nativity Scene with the smiling face of the Baby Jesus. Not long after that, constables came to evict us from our home yet again, and they found me hiding in a closet clutching that Nativity Scene to my chest.
Thus began my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Flash forward… As an adult, for about a decade, I would have momentary flashes, out of nowhere, in my mind that would specifically focus on a vision of Christ’s life in the forty days after his resurrection. The flash always said the same thing: “There is a powerful story there. Tell it.”
I would just ignore them.
After a few years of these “flashes” happening once or twice a year for but only for split second or two, I finally wrote the words “The Forty Days” on a yellow sticky and put it up on the wall of my home office around my desk.
Soon thereafter, my wife walked into my office, looked up at the yellow sticky on the wall and asked what is this all about? I told her I did not have a clue.
Then, just over two years ago, while sitting in my home office working on an entirely different project with those flashes pushed completely out of my mind, the entire story for “The Forty Days” suddenly and unexpectedly flooded into my mind in but a few minutes. I grabbed a pen and paper and made notes as fast as possible and then for the next ten hours, sat at that desk and wrote the story exactly as it had come into my mind.
The brief synopsis of that story is that 70 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in a poor, one room home built from stone, mud, and straw, a frail old man tells his granddaughter and her husband an amazing and miraculous secret. A secret he kept to himself for decades out of fear for his own life. That secret being that as a 9-year-old street urchin who had made his way to Jerusalem in search of food and survival, he had an encounter with a “bloody and beaten” man being forced to drag a heavy timber cross for His own crucifixion. An encounter which led to a very surreal connection with the “bloody and beaten” man. The old man then goes on to reveal to his granddaughter and her skeptical husband, what he witnessed first-hand as that little boy, of the forty days Jesus walked the Earth after His resurrection.
Again, while the vast majority of comments about the book have been incredibly supportive and even quite moving, some did question my sanity or even “real” motives for articulating the story.
With that in mind, I would only stress that I did not take a dime for the book and for me, the only thing you do with a project like this is to help charity in His name.
No matter how the story came to me, I have come to believe it truly is my obligation to let as many as possible know about it and let them come to their own conclusions.
In more and more first-hand accounts, readers have revealed how deeply the story touched them, reaffirmed their faith, and even comforted them through the darkest of times.
I am more than happy to have my sanity questioned in exchange for such meaningful testimony.