“We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” Romans 8:7-8
This came to my mind last week when I was praying for my niece Missy, her fiance Travis, and their prematurely born baby boy Tucker. Tucker came three months early and weighed in at 1 pound 14 ounces, and he lived for a week. Many, many people were praying for him, and now that he is no longer here on this earth, we continue to pray for Missy and Travis. They are devastated, to say the least, but they are also surrounded with prayer, supported by a loving and caring family, and have the maturity to see the gift that having Tucker was for them, even though he only lived for a week.
There is something about that little life that has touched many hearts and lives. He was a courageous, tiny baby who fought to live, but something went wrong physically, and he couldn’t fight it. We can ask “why,” but there aren’t any explanations. Oh sure, we have the scientific, medical explanations, but we don’t have the gut wrenching, Psalmist-type questions that holler at God and complain to God about the way life treats us.
Yet, I find great comfort in the verses from Romans 8:7-8 because I hear the confidence of Paul’s letter to the church: we belong to God in all things. We are God’s whether we live or whether we die. God is with us in EVERY part of our lives. We are not alone.
Sometimes God hugs us through our parents, siblings, spouses, friends, and church family. Other times, it’s through the compassion and care of a nursing staff or strangers 1500 miles away who pray for us even though they don’t know us. God provides companions who walk with us on the path. Sometimes it is in the quiet of weeping that we somehow know we aren’t alone. Sometimes it is in the love we feel for a tiny, tiny infant who was given to us for a very short time. God touched our lives through Tucker.
Tucker reminds us that life is precious and WAY too short. Tucker reminds us that we shouldn’t let a day go by when we tell our loved ones that we love them, make amends for those things that have hurt others, forgive those whom we need to forgive, and touch someone else’s life with the love of God and the caring and compassion that only God can give.
Tucker’s gift to us was the reminder that he came from God and is again with God, and while he was here on this earth, he was God’s gift to us. I will see Missy and Travis in a few weeks when my husband and I fly out to visit from our home on the East Coast to the Midwest. I have shed many tears for them already, and I suspect that I will shed tears with them when I see them. But I believe that we have been given such a wonderful gift from God in allowing us to know their child, even though it was way too short a time, that none of us will ever be the same.
May God bless your day, and may you find God’s presence in your life.