Matt Bryant is the placekicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Why am I “spotlighting” some random kicker on a team I don’t even cheer for? His strength. Not leg strength, not overall strength, but that intangible strength that helps you get through hard times.
Matt Bryant was the father of a three month old infant, Tryson, that suddenly passed away in his sleep earlier this week. Most parents who has had their child pass away, going back to work is the last thing on their minds. But for Matt Bryant, it was important to go out there and play “to honor Tryson’s name” as he put it.
So what happened in the game, Tampa won the game. The game-winning score came from a 24 yard field goal kicked by Matt Bryant.
I can not express how tragic this was. It’s hard to know what to say to the parents of an infant who loses their life. For me, as someone who relies on God and His word, it’s hard to know what to tell them? Something that, in our worldly point of view, is so completely unfair, not to the parents but to the child who didn’t even get a chance to live a life. How do you convience them this is all part of God’s master plan?
Our Lord understands sorrow, He understands grief and the heart-ache that we exprience when we lose a loved one. John 11:35 simply says “Jesus wept.” The biblical context of this verse is Jesus is coming to Bethany and heard of Lazarus, his friend’s illness. But he was unable to see him in time to heal him. Once Jesus heard of Lazarus’ death, he wept.
Our God, our Savior, wept. Sometimes we try to dehumanize Jesus, he faces all these worldly needs and we try to pass it off as, “So what, he’s Jesus” but this is not the case at all. While on this earth, Jesus was human, a perfectly righteous human, but still human. He felt hunger, thrist, happiness and sorrow.
The grieving process is slow and hard, and as unfair as something like this may seem God does have a master plan for everyone. Matt, by playing today, you honored your son Tryson. By playing next week, you’ll honor your son. By remembering him the rest of your life, you honor him. Let God use Tryson to insipire and motivate you, not just in football but in everything in your life. If you look for it, something good can come out of every death. Maybe the good that came from Tryson’s death is to insipire you the rest of your days.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Bryant family.