Bay Hills Church

Not Sure About Jesus? Meet Tyler...

This post was originally posted during my son's (Tyler) longest hospital stay of his life. It has been amended and reposted here for Bay Hills Church during another of his hospital stays.

Today, we have officially hit the 4-week mark with Tyler still not ready to come home. My wife and I are trading off living in an ICU room with our son, and it is wearing on everyone. Most of you know that our family deeply loves Jesus. But many of you that I love…don’t share our convictions. Make no mistake about it: I love you because I love you…end of sentence. Whatever you choose to do or not do with Jesus will not change my affection for you. With that being said, I would like to offer up my son’s life as an apologetic (a defense) for so much of what I believe.

Tyler Allen Coleman has spent the entirety of his life in a body that is unsuitable to sustain him in this world rightly. These last four weeks, my wife and I have cleaned him, helped him breathe, fed him, medicated him, comforted him, and advocated for him.  All things he is unable to do himself, as he and his body are so fragile. The Bible uses the metaphor of a “tent” for our body, describing it this way:

2 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT) — That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

If you’ve ever been camping, you know that a tent is meant to be temporary. It, too, is fragile. Some tents are better than others at handling the harsh conditions of the environment, but none are meant to be permanent. For example, let's say you go camping for the weekend, and your tent rips, breaks, or leaks. For some, they might consider that a wasted weekend (especially if it rains). But for those whose tents did not fail, they were free to stay longer and enjoy more. They just got lucky, I guess. Right?

Without Jesus, Tyler’s life is a waste. His"tent" failed him. He received the short end of a very unlucky stick if you will. In this world, his life is wasted when juxtaposed with others who get to live longer, fuller lives (that's true for all of us, actually). No other conclusion can be reached if we are being intellectually honest. To put it bluntly, there is how his life should have gone and how it actually went. Sorry, Tyler, that’s how the chips fell for you. And unlike a ruined camping trip, there is no do-over.

But what if….

What if that’s not true? Not in a way divorced from reality and based on wishful thinking. But, rather, in a real, weighty sense:

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NLT) — For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) — So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever (wasted).

My love for Jesus doesn’t allow me to see Tyler’s life as a waste. Instead, the Bible assures me his life is worthy of dignity, meaning, and value in the sight of God. Jesus is the reason that everything “wasting away” isn't actually a "waste." Why? Because with Jesus, we can look forward to a “heavenly” redemption. In a Kingdom economy, Tyler’s life is not tragic.  Quite the contrary, in a Kingdom economy:

Romans 8:28 (NLT) — And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Did you catch that? Everything? Yes, every single thing. Every hard thing. Every sad thing. Every seemingly wasted thing. Jesus has given all things redemptive capacity. Meaning that God is so good He can take evil and turn it into something beautiful.

Genesis 50:20 (NLT) — You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good...

Tyler’s life can matter here and now because of the heavenly implications. Perhaps some of those implications are happening in your heart right now as you process my words. Maybe you're being encouraged right now as your eyes dart across the screen. You might be feeling your heart fill, ever so slightly, with hope as you scan each line of what I've written here...

...God is doing that.

He is using Tyler’s broken "tent" to speak to you right now. Tyler’s life has real meaning in this moment because you’re reading this. Jesus gives meaning and dignity to the lives of people like Tyler Coleman, Sherri Crawford, Kyle Trevon Williams-Dugan, Ryan Sweeney, Quinn Bartrug, and Michael Saitta. They groan(ed) in these tents for a little while, But their lives also point to our desire for something more permanent and heavenly.

Hebrews 11:16 (NLT) — But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly (place). That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Even though their "tents" failed them much too soon, their lives are not wasted. Nor is the redemptive capacity of their suffering diminished. Isn't this good news? Someone should call it that. They may have/will be buried in weakness, but because of Jesus, they were/will be raised in strength.

1 Corinthians 15:42–43 (NLT) — It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.
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Todd - March 1st, 2024 at 9:03am

What a beautiful message to wake up to on this first day of March Allen.

I love Jesus. Without Him?! "Forget about it!!" And I love you Allen. Tyler has Jesus, and 2 amazingly beautiful parents. He is soo Blessed. And so am I to be a part of what's happening at Bayhills. REVIVAL IS HERE NOW!!

Mariann Andronico - April 23rd, 2024 at 7:47am

Thank you so much for sharing! When I was helping take care of my mom with dementia some of my family couldn't see the value in her life. It greatly saddened me as I saw in her our Lord. She was living a life holding no grudges, remember no wrongs, loving those around her, and living each day for that day. It was beautiful to watch and be a part of. It was also beautiful to learn that where she lived, caregivers shared with me that they would come to her room so that she could pray for them. She only cared about those around her and how her and her heavenly Father could helping comfort them. I think God for letting me see all this further acknowledging all the scripture in your message about Tyler. God never wastes a minute and has value for us each and every day to His glory.