Cody went home with Jesus on August 23, 2007, at the age of 17. He had a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder from the age of 19 months old, which affected his breathing, coordination, all fine and gross motor skills, balance and stamina. Because of his strong relationship with God, Cody always believed that he could do whatever he set his heart and mind to do...in spite of what the doctors, the world, circumstances and appearances might have said to the contrary. What he did is "impossible," according to everyone else but Jesus and Cody; and he did more in 17 years than many people accomplish in a lifetime.
He had his second dan black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and he went for two consecutive years to the Junior Olympics in Tae Kwon Do (in order to go you must finish in the top three in your state competition) where he received national recognition in the form of multiple medals for his indomitable spirit and perseverance. He played youth soccer, baseball, and football. He was the starting center on his football team, until he could no longer balance well enough to snap the ball, at which point he moved to tackle (!). From the area football program, he received a trophy called the Kyle Maynard award, given for overcoming severe obstacles to make a significant contribution to his team.
The pediatric neuro-opthamologist stated it was impossible with his uncontrolled jerky eye movements for him to read, yet he read extensively, including such works as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and even the Silmarillion (a Tolkien history of middle earth...sort of like reading Chronicles in the Bible)...not like he was reading simple stuff here. In fact, he loved to read more than anything. The doctor said, flat out, it was a miracle. His academic testing showed him scoring a Masters degree level of comprehension in reading, in spite of being told he would struggle with doing any schoolwork at all. Because he had difficulty with the fine motor skill of writing, he did all of his math in his head. He was also quite a Bible scholar: even our adult Sunday school teacher used to email Cody for his insights into Scripture. At Cody's celebration service, this teacher read some of Cody's email responses to his difficult questions, and I believe even in that forum Cody was reaching people with the truth of Jesus. (If you are interested, you can go to www.restoredchristianity.com and click on “Cody’s Impact” to read some of the comments made at his service).
Perhaps his two greatest, most profound accomplishments were the impact he had on others, and his continuing positive spirit and beliefs in the face of the deterioration caused by his disease. Over the last three years of his life, he was in the hospital ICU four times; eleven times he was intubated; three times prior to finally going home, he stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating. On his first hospital visit, the doctors said he would not survive; when he survived, they said he would never leave the hospital without being attached to a respirator through a trach tube; when he walked out of the hospital with neither a respirator nor a trach tube, the staff said, "you have made believers out of us." On subsequent visits, the doctors and nurses basically asked Cody what he thought he could do and what he thought he needed from them. They could not continue to be harbingers of gloom and doom in the face of his strong beliefs. I remember during that first ICU visit, a resident came in and talked about all the negative things Cody had to look forward to, and Cody told us to never let that doctor back into his room. "Get the negative out!" he yelled...and we did. Cody knew what the doctor did not: all things are possible with God.
In spite of his external circumstances, he continued to have an unyielding positive spirit, smiling and joking (the nurses told us he was the very first child they had ever had in the hospital PICU who smiled around an intubation tube), still saying he could do anything, never giving up or giving in. He even climbed the stairs himself up to his room on his last night with us here and joked with me as he climbed that I was a golden mushroom - because I was a "fun-gi." Get it?
Cody asked me, a few years before he passed away, quite matter-of-factly, if he was going to die. I told him; sure, we are all going to die. He said, no I mean now or really soon. I suggested he pray and ask Jesus what He had to say about it. So he did. When I asked him what Jesus had said, he responded, "Jesus told me to touch as many lives as I can, then come on home." This belief governed his attitudes, his actions, and his focus. His last request of us was to establish the Cody Lane Foundation, to provide 1:1 and small group discipling for individuals who want to develop a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus like the one Cody knew. Jesus' answer to Cody's question has become the "motto" of his Foundation, as Cody's life continues to touch others' lives, even though his life is now with Jesus.
Cody realized that Jesus' words to him are applicable to every believer. He did not fear or even think about dying, because he was too busy living in the kingdom already. One fun story that reveals his attitude toward physical death started as a quite frightening one: we were attending a football game, watching his older brother play against Ole Miss, and his dad took Cody to the bathroom. While in the bathroom, unbeknownst to his dad, Cody started choking and began to pass out. His dad, as we frequently did, called to him after a brief time, and hearing no answer, opened the door to find Cody almost passed out and turning blue. Once his dad cleared his breathing passage and gave him a little oxygen to recover, he asked Cody if he had been scared. Cody laughed (yes, laughed) and said, “No, I thought it was funny that I might die on the toilet like Elvis here in Mississippi.” He had a unique sense of humor!
We hear Bible verses like "all things are possible with God" and "My strength is made perfect in your weakness," and we think, 'what a nice concept; I agree with that.'
Cody lived it.
Of all the people I have ever known in my life, Cody was the best, most profound, and most genuine example I have ever seen of someone living Christ's teaching, "the Kingdom of God is within you." Cody did EVERYTHING through Christ who strengthened him. I pray you receive inspiration from his story, and as Jesus spoke to Cody, he will have touched some more lives.