Cold and flu season hit us hard this year. This was no tired and sniffly sickness. I'm talking hug-the-bowl, pray-for-mercy, laid-up ill!
It started just as we began to eat dinner when our three year old Anna's lunch decided to pay us a visit. She showed no warning signs of illness, no dip in energy, or complaint of pain. I wasn't sure what had happened, and she simply suggested she had too much food in her mouth. Unfortunately, a few minutes later Anna performed the sequel to the earlier regurgitative performance.
After the next few recurring episodes, I finally gave up changing her into clean clothes. Down to her diaper, I wrapped Anna in a blanket, played her favorite movie on the portable DVD player, and rocked her in my arms. While Daddy cleaned the floors and kept the baby out of harm's way, Anna and I cuddled on the hallway floor right outside the bathroom. She barely moved, rather she just hugged my arm and only spoke to warn me to get her to the toilet.
This was the first time she had ever been really sick. This was the most pain I had ever seen her in and it broke my heart. While we cuddled on the floor, I prayed. I wished I could take her place. I would gladly have been the one to get sick if it meant she would escape it. I wanted to take her place, give her my health for her illness, my strength for her weakness, but I couldn't.
I finally put Anna to bed around 10 p.m. I laid the futon mattress next to her bed and stayed by her all night long, giving her little sips of water each time she woke up. There was no way I was going to leave her side.
As I wrestled with sleep that night, I thought about how God completely understands what we go through. God knows the physical pain of this world because, in Christ, He bore the pain of the whole world. And, God knows the pain of a parent having to watch her child suffer. Our Heavenly Father watched His Son, Jesus, suffer - even to the point of death.
Jesus did for us what I couldn't do for my daughter. He took our place. He didn't take our place in a temporary ailment, but in death. He gave us His health for our sickness of sin. He gave us His strength and took our weakness, and He took it all the way to the cross.
Why? Why would He do this? He did it out of sheer grace for you and for me! Jesus endured pain and died to save us from the disease that threatens our souls. Now, even death can't keep us away from eternity with God. And until the day that we are restored to eternal health, He will never leave our side!