Tyler Doughtie was born on 23 September 1995. At age 8, he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumour. He was an inspiration to everyone he encountered. His undeniable love for God was a testimony and witness for Christ. Tyler passed away when he was only 9½ years old. Two years later his father, Patrick, decided to write a screenplay which became the movie “Letters to God”. Although the movie was inspired by Tyler’s story, it contains fictional elements. The letters, for example, were fictional, using episodes from Tyler’s life and showing how he lived his life for God. About three years after Tyler’s death and after the script had been finalised, Patrick found a notebook in Tyler’s room. When he flipped through it, he found a few pages with ‘Dear God’ entries. Patrick was overwhelmingly exited since it gave the entire screenplay a new meaning. (See photo of Tyler and Patrick)
Letters of recommendation were used in Paul’s time to obtain access to churches. But when he writes to the church in Corinth, he says that he doesn’t need such a letter – the church itself attests to the fact that the Gospel which he preached is the truth, and that the Holy Spirit has transformed them. They are his letter (2 Cor 3:2,3): You yourselves are the letter we have, written on our hearts for everyone to know and read. It is clear that Christ himself wrote this letter and sent it by us. It is written, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, and not on stone tablets but on human hearts. They themselves are the letters which God has written in their hearts through his Spirit. But how can this be?
Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3:3-16): “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again… I am telling you the truth, that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. A person is born physically of human parents, but is born spiritually of the Spirit.” Then Nicodemus asked Him: “How can this be?” And Jesus answered him: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.” The fact that one can believe is more miraculous than any supernatural event. That we can believe in God although we cannot see Him, can believe in Someone who, long ago, walked the earth as a human being, but also as God, and can believe that He destroyed the barrier between man and God. Faith is a miracle which only God can grant, out of love and grace (Eph 2:8): For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. It is this faith which transforms people (2 Cor 5:17): Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Tyler loved God and wrote letters to Him. It was possible because he himself was a letter, written by the Spirit of God in his heart. The people who knew him were therefore inspired by his faith in God, and touched by his testimony about Jesus, his Saviour. It was there for all to see and hear. We cannot see God, but we can see his children.
Our heavenly Father, thank you for the little boy, Tyler, and that his testimony touches so many people. Amen.