I spent a few hours in the acute care center with Nora a few nights ago. It was nothing major, she has asthma and needed a breathing treatment. All in all, a minor inconvenience, but not all of our visits to acute care have been so uneventful.
We have spent our fair share of time at our local acute care center waiting room. From asthma attacks to stitches, ear infections to broken fingers, our children have familiarized us with the blessings of after hours medical care. The magazines are always outdated, the childrenís books are missing pages and the time passes slowly. But the worst part of each visit is not the books, magazines or slow clocks. It is sitting next to my daughter, watching her struggle with pain or illness, knowing there is nothing I can do to help her.
I wish I could take their pain and make it mine. I know that I can handle the pain of stitches, but they donít know they can. I hate to watch them fight against the medical interventions that are meant to heal them. I try to explain the benefits of cooperation, but fear usually overpowers reason in a childís mind and I end up wishing that I could take her place.
This desire to remove their pain extends beyond acute care visits. When they have the stomach flu, Iíd love to fix it for them. When kids are mean at school, I Ďd love to shield them from discomfort and deal with the situation myself. When theyíre scared Iíd love to crawl into their skin and be brave for them. So many things Iíd love to fix, but I canít. Instead I stand next to them, hold their hand and sometimes make them do hard things for their own good.
Despite Maggieís pleas to avoid a filing, I drag her there kicking and screaming, hold her hand as the dentist drills and hug her with pride when itís all done. I canít take her place, my human limitations prevent me, but I can be there.
Sometimes I am on the other end of the equation. Sometimes itís me who is in pain. Iím the one fighting against whatís best for me. I wonder how Iíll make it through a situation. Sometimes I even mess up. Iíll end up sitting and turning things over in my head to figure out how to fix things. Iíll make a plan to become a better person, live a perfect life and never yell at my kids in anger again. Inevitably, I will fail. Luckily I donít have to come up with a plan.
God looks at me in my pain, and in love reminds me that he stepped in the remove the penalty for my sins. Jesus came to earth, not just to show us the right way to live, but to remove the sting and take it on himself.
I find it amazing that God loved his creation so much that he watch us suffer. Instead, he suffered himself for us. Now, he holds our tears in his hands and carries us when weíre hurting. He took our sins on himself so that we could be freed from the power of sin and have eternal life.
Like me watching my child cry as she gets stitches, God saw our pain and wanted to help. Unlike me, he could. For that, I am truly grateful.