By Brad Herndon
If you have children in sports, such as track, always have them looking into the picture when you photograph them. “Looking into” means they will be looking ahead, with lots of space in front of them, but little space behind them. This makes the picture interesting, for the person looking at the image always wonders what is ahead. Leave a lot of space behind the runner, however, and the human eye will leave the primary subject in the picture—your son or daughter—and go back behind them and find nothing of interest. Therefore, the picture doesn’t carry much emotional impact.
Many of you reading Without Excuse Ministries are interested in photographing nature. Again, if you are photographing a deer, make sure it is looking into the picture. An image of a giant buck which has the buck’s head cramped up against the side of the picture (looking out of the picture), and a huge blank space behind it, just doesn’t look good.
Look at the picture of this mule deer which has been used here at Without Excuse Ministries and you will see this rule being used again. This simple but powerful tool helps make this picture interesting to the viewer.
Here is an image of Carol and I enjoying a beautiful view out west. We are looking into the picture, and this composition makes you, the viewer, look into the picture where the scenery is gorgeous.
I love to tell people I grew up in Starve Hollow, a pleasant valley out in the hills of southern Indiana. I also like to share that I was a “cruiser” as a teenager. A cruiser, as you old timers know, was a young man (or young gal) who drove to town on Friday and Saturday nights and cruised the main drag looking for cute chicks, or if a girl, a handsome young man. It’s also called scooping the loop.
Cruising is certainly looked at in a negative manner today, but in my day it was rather harmless. In fact, sometimes it turned out rather well. For example, one time when I was cruising in Seymour, Indiana I met a cute little gal named Carol Casey. This meeting eventually led to marriage on August 3, 1963, and I’m happy to say we both have enjoyed our 47 years together.
On August 15, 1964, approximately twelve months after our marriage, Carol gave birth to our first child, a son named Joseph Bradley. We both were very excited about Joseph Bradley’s birth, of course, but I was especially excited for his birth fell on the first day of squirrel season. Back in 1964 there were no wild turkey in Indiana, and only a handful of deer. Because of that we country folk grew up hunting squirrels, rabbit and quail.
Squirrel hunting was my favorite sport, so I could envision the fun Joseph Bradley and I would have squirrel hunting when he was a few years older. Carol spent a few days in the hospital and when I picked her and the baby up I had a rattlesnake in the trunk that I had killed that day. To put things in perspective, killing a rattlesnake back then was like killing a Boone & Crockett buck today. I just knew our son was going to be a skilled hunter the way things were falling in place.
Because Carol was very sick when she gave birth to Joseph Bradley, we went to my mom and dad’s home so mom could help Carol with the baby. On his eighth day of life here on earth Carol and mom noticed Joseph Bradley was sick, and getting sicker. Carol and I rushed him to the Seymour hospital, and then from there in an ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.
We waited in the hospital waiting room, hoping our baby was going to be all right. Finally a doctor came into the waiting room. He had the saddest look on his face, and after some hesitation, he finally spoke four words, “Your baby is dead.”
We were crushed by the death of our son, Joseph Bradley. It’s especially hard on the mother since she has carried the baby in her womb for so long. Our recovery was long and hard. Carol was a Christian, and although I wasn’t a Christian at the time I knew there was certainly a God. That had been revealed to me when I was only six years old. I would go outside and when I would look at nature I knew there was someone out there, and I knew he loved me. That is why Romans 1:20 and this Web site mean so much to me.
In my search for answers about our great loss, I started reading the Bible. I read about one vile character in the Old Testament named David. He was a king, but he sure pulled some boners. He even took another man’s wife, Bathsheba, and committed adultery with her. And if that wasn’t enough David set things up to make sure her husband Uriah got killed in battle.
As it turned out Bathsheba was pregnant from the adulterous relationship and a baby was born. However, the Lord was displeased with David and the baby became sick. David prayed for the baby, wore sack cloth, and wouldn’t eat or take care of himself even with encouragement from his staff. Finally the baby died.
The scripture below describes what happened after the baby died.
2 Samuel 12: 18-23
18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
David knew his baby could never return to him, but he knew with God’s mercy he could go to his baby! This scripture changed my life! I knew there was a God, and I knew the only way Carol and I could be united with our baby once again was to join him in heaven. The problem was, unlike Carol, I hadn’t yet figured out how to get there.
I catch on to things slowly, so me figuring out how to get to heaven was kind of like molasses running uphill. But finally, after much soul searching and study of the Bible, I became convinced Jesus Christ was the way, the truth, and the life, and no one could get to the Father, and heaven, except through him. I am so thankful to the merciful Lord that he gave me enough time here on earth to figure this out.
Both Carol and I so look forward to seeing Joseph Bradley again, and that great hope has helped keep our lives on track for decades. But there are others as well whom we want to see Joseph Bradley. Our daughter JoLinda, for example. She has never yet met her brother. And JoLinda’s husband Mr. Curt, and their two children, Jessica The Rascal Girl and Hannah The Rascal Gal. I know they will be thrilled to see him. In fact, I want my entire family, and many others, to meet him in heaven.
The Bible says that in heaven there will be no more pain and suffering, and no more tears. I think all humans would want to go to such a place as this after they die. I also think all people would rejoice in spending an eternity with their loved ones in the presence of God. This is why I love to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. I want all people to go to heaven.
If you’re already a Christian, joyfully share the Gospel with others. And if you’re not yet a Christian I would encourage you to consider the beauty and complexity of nature--the creation--and hopefully you will know, as I did as a child, that there is someone out there, and that he loves you.
Then have it revealed to you how great God’s love is for you by reading the Bible. He actually sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross for your personal sins. Because of Jesus’ great sacrifice, you can spend eternity in heaven, and so can your loved ones.
I look forward to seeing you there someday!