Daily Devotionals

Our Life as a Gift

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Scripture:  “…Give God the glory!…”   – John 9:24 (NKJV)

From our beginning as children of our Creator God, we have the ability to make our life a gift. Nothing can take our life if we have chosen to make it a gift. This amazing choice is possible because our loving God created us in his own image—opening for us the miraculous capacity to be far more than our mortal minds can conceive.


Ironically, I recently grasped a deeper realization of this opportunity while experiencing a tragedy— the sudden death of a vibrant, 38-year-old loved one. The sadness increased with the knowledge that left behind were her devoted husband and two healthy children filled with potential patients benefiting from her respected 14-year career in hospital nursing/cardiology, and aspiring student nurses studying under her instructorship. Added despair to the news of her death was the needless circumstance.


Brittany and her beloved dog were jogging appropriately on a tree-lined avenue at 7 am on a sunny day in an old, established neighborhood with a low rate of crime incidents. Nonetheless, with no warning, a stolen car accelerated recklessly across four lanes of traffic, hitting a curb that projected it onto the peaceful avenue. Forcefully encountering a towering tree, the car took with it this loving, intelligent, productive, and dedicatedly principled (and fun!) young woman and her favored pet. The occupants of the car immediately fled with the force of the impact leaving Brittany and her devoted dog no longer breathing. The conflicting and confusing nature of the news defied any human logic.


All who loved Brittany personally, and even those who knew her only by the horrific news, turned together in trust to our precious God. Deeply saddened that Brittany was not going to rear her four-year-old and 20-month-old children, hearts likewise ached for her husband, her parents, her broader family of which I am a part, her friends, her patients, her students…all hurting, and no answers existing.


Later in the week at the memorial service, I joined others in realizing that Brittany had created a valued gift of her life!  The assurance she would live on was provided as we witnessed her husband bravely walking to the pulpit. His gratitude-filled heart had compelled him to rise above his comfort level in order to express his deep appreciation for the avalanche of help and gifts and generous commitments that had been made. Hundreds of listeners felt as if we were hearing Christ speaking on behalf of this tender, sweet father left alone with two babies. Buoyed by God, he even had the multitude of congregants jubilantly and lovingly “cheering” her name—mirroring the JOY which filled her life.


“The first thing I ever noticed about Brittany,” her Life Partner touchingly shared, “was her uncanny ability to light up a room!” Then he smiled and nodded knowingly to those who knew her well: “She was a light.” Brittany’s consistent kindnesses, unusual thoughtfulness, others-centeredness, interested attention to the details of others’ lives—never too busy to reach out with a quiet spirit, all combined to make her life a gift.


The minister pointedly urged that no one view this tragedy as willed by God. “It was God who gave us the gift of this precious person in the first place! …If Brittany could be such a natural-born caregiver, how much more must the God who made her care? God cares, but that’s not all…God is able to bring more good out of this tragedy than we can ask or imagine. In fact, He is at work already… . In this immense darkness, we can already see just enough light on the path for us to find our way forward. It is light that shines from the life Brittany has lived and the example she set,” The Reverend Kyle Matthews assuredly explained.


He further stressed: “The gift Brittany was can never be taken away… . The love that inspired her to make her life such a gift can do the same for us. You see, some day there will be a memorial for each of us. But what we have learned from Brittany is that no one—and I mean no one—can take your life from you if you have already made your life a gift!”


Prayer:  Our Father, help us to make a gift of our lives so that we “live” long after our bodies die to this world. Thank you for people, such as this young woman, who choose to encourage, to be empathetic, to be uniquely supportive and thoughtful, who celebrate family, who share their expertise in ways that help, who give of themselves for no other reason than for the sake of goodness…who make of their lives a gift. May we live accordingly, expansively and generously. To you, God, be the glory!  Amen.


Submitted by Ellen Hayden