This past week two of my friends lost their youngest son, Chai Samuel Atwood. From the beginning of his conception he was known as a ‘miracle baby’. Although he only lived for a day, I still consider him a miracle baby. If a miracle is something that God alone is responsible for to make Himself more known and glorified, then Chai fits this description perfectly. I do not doubt that in Chai’s short life he revealed the character of God to many. Perhaps someone experienced and believed in the love, sovereignty, and hope of Christ for the first time, accepting Him as their Lord and Savior. Despite never meeting him, Chai influenced me. He led me to worship Christ. What else could I ask from someone? What a gift Chai! Thank you! And thank you Trevor and Keva for actively striving to trust and believe in our greater hope during this temporary time of grief and despair. I thank God for you and your family.
Below are the words Trevor shared with the church at Chai’s memorial service, “1 Day for the Fame of Jesus and the Glory of God”.
How many tears can I cry until I have none left? I may find the answer to that mystery soon.
My youngest son lived just over 1 Day. How do I make that make any sense- to me, to my wife, to my Micah and my Isaac? There is only one hope of even beginning to understand this. It is the same hope that offers us any understanding for all of our lives, no matter the length. It is the sure hope of the glory of God.
Despite our world’s narcissistic understanding of existence, this world, our lives, were not created for us. We were made to image God. To show him off. To display his character. To declare truth in the midst of falsehood, light in the darkness. In short, the purpose for life is to bring fame and glory to God.
Many miss this truth. Many live long lives, amass great wealth, become loved and adored by millions, and even do very good things for the world…but they miss the truth. Jesus death on the cross and resurrection to life is not a nice story. Neither is it your “ticket to heaven”. It is the only way we can do what we were created to do. It is the only way that God made for us to overcome our own treason against a Father that perfectly loves us first. Our self-worship means that we are not worshipping him. Jesus death and resurrection, the gospel, is the only way to true life, one that worships and glorifies God.
Chai Samuel Atwood did not understand this truth. He could not. But God has made a way for children, those who cannot yet understand their own sinful natures and need for redemption, to be brought into his loving fellowship and to be made new. I thank God that Chai is with Jesus awaiting the resurrection of his body.
Chai lived only a day, but through his life and death, many will be reminded of the gospel and, we pray, trust the Jesus who has given him new life. In 24 hours God did more with a helpless, weak, baby than many who do not trust him, live for him, do in an entire lifetime. This is just like God (2 Corinthians 1:26-31). Why do we waste our lives by keeping the gospel silent? Why do we live as if these truths are not real and do not need to be proclaimed? It is because, many times, we think it will show us weak. It will expose us as needy. It will cause others to look at us strangely, to mock us. But God uses the weak to shame the strong so that no one will boast.
So this is where Chai has challenged me. If there is a hope like that of the gospel; a great hope that Romans 8 speaks of, that 1 Corinthians 15 speaks of, a resurrection, a renewal of creation, then I must make it known. I must live as if it is true.
I cannot waste the life and death of Jesus. It is clear that he accomplished salvation on the cross and through his resurrection. I cannot waste the life of my son, Chai. It is clear that his 24 hours of life and all-to-early death have brought the light of the gospel to many. But, I can waste my own life. I can sit on this truth and not live it and speak it daily. I can dope myself with the morphine of my own flesh and this world that comes in the form of life’s comforts and ease. Or I can cry out with creation, “Abba, Father! Fix this broken world! Renew this sinful people!” All along, loving and living like there is a resurrection and that the God who created everything through and for his son (Colossians 1:15-20; Romans 11:36) loves me with an everlasting love.
The pain for me makes the message more urgent. Though it will remain, it will lessen in weeks, months, and years to come. For most of you who read this, you will forget the pain even more quickly. Do not pass this opportunity the Lord has afforded to commit yourself to him. It won’t happen by promising him to do more or be a better person (Romans 4:5). The change you need, the change you long for, will only come by trusting him with every part of your life.
The gospel is not obey then be loved by God. It is that God has loved you perfectly in Christ, so you want to obey him. Trust him in your marriage. Trust him at your job. Trust him with kids and family. To believe the gospel is to give God everything in response to his great love for you (Romans 12:1-2). This is the way to life (John 1:4).
Chai’s name means “Alive”. How paradoxical that a child whose name means “alive” died in order for God to bring the message of life in Christ to many.
Does the life you have been graciously given scream the truth of the gospel? Chai’s life and death has now for 24 hours and will continue to eternity.
I love you, son. Rest well in Christ.