December 15, 2014

It came as quite a shock. Tate was a perfectly healthy three-month-old baby boy. Little did anyone know that he would never awaken from his nap. The daycare provider found him breathless and pulse-less. She immediately started CPR and obtained help. Through these efforts, little Tate’s heart started beating again, a glimmer of hope.

He was placed on a ventilator and airlifted to the children’s center of a hospital ninety miles away, during which Tate needed CPR again. His condition was grave.

Tate’s parents—both nurses—understood the reality, but their hearts still hoped for a miracle in which Tate would wake up with normal brain activity. Communities of people rallied around them in prayer for that miracle.

Studies determined no brain activity and extensive brain damage. The little family now faced the hardest decision of their lives: removing the ventilator that was sustaining their precious baby’s life.

Explaining to Tate’s older brothers, ages five and three, what was happening to their baby brother, Daddy reminded them of the passion drama they had attended at Easter time. Their baby brother was going to heaven. The five-year-old exclaimed, “Tate is going to live with Jesus!”

He got it! Oh, the innocent, simple, faith of a child! Tate’s big brother connected the dots to where hope and life is found. This child is learning to “fix his eyes” on Jesus!

“[A]nd let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1b-2 NIV).

What is the race? Song lyrics from “Fix My Eyes” by For King and Country, refer to a soldier who fixes his eyes on Jesus, enabling him to take the road less traveled and carry out his orders to walk the Christian walk. The orders include: loving and caring for others despite fear; sacrificing time, money, and self for our brother or sister; fighting for the weak ones; speaking for freedom; and standing tall above it all.

These are fitting words for LFL We are soldiers in a battle between life and death, good and evil. As Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) tells us we are engaged in, “our struggle … against the rulers … the authorities, the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

As soldiers, “[P]ut on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground … with the belt of truth buckled around your waist … the breastplate of righteousness … feet fitted with the readiness … the shield of faith … the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions …” (Ephesians 6:13-18 NIV).

Armored and armed, we must know our orders: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind … Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39 NIV).

We cannot love unless we know the Author of love. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God … This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4: 7, 10 NIV).

Equipped for this spiritual battle, we move forward on the road less traveled, fixing our eyes on Jesus with the light of God’s glory and grace before us. We can hear the Lord’s words to Paul encouraging us onward: “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17b-18 NIV).

We must “fix our eyes” on Jesus to run the race marked out for us with perseverance: loving and caring for others despite fear; sacrificing time, money and self for our brothers and sisters; fighting for the weak ones; speaking for freedom. How else can we begin to cope with any end-of-life decisions, like Tate’s family, or think about counseling an abortion-bound woman or a post-abortive family or deal with all the schizophrenic, nonsense ideas of this culture of death?

A prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. Help us to keep our eyes “fixed on Jesus.” Equip us with child-like faith to persevere through the race before us. Amen.