Her little teeth chattered together as her body trembled. “I’m cold, Daddy” she whispered as she pulled up the blanket and clinched it against her neck. She was shivering uncontrollably. Her eyes were at a squint, cheeks flushed, skin burning up. “Babe,” I called to my wife in the other room, “can you bring the thermometer please?”
Sophie has had fevers before, but I didn’t recall her ever burning up like this. I gently combed the side of her hair with my fingertips and kissed her on the forehead. The heat of her fever against my lips melted my heart. I felt helpless. I hated seeing her like this. “Mommy’s coming, ” I whispered with reassurance. Mommy came in a hurry and proceeded to take Sophie’s temperature. We both glanced at each other with sunken eyes as we anticipated the result. She was hot, and we knew this one was bad. I continued to comb my fingers through her hair as she chattered and shook. The beeping thermometer confirmed our fears as my wife announced the verdict… 104.2.
My wife and I both have extensive backgrounds in healthcare. Treating patients in a clinical setting requires a professional demeanor. Medical professionals can’t break down in front of patients and parents. They can’t show uncertainty in the face of serious ailments. But it’s hard to hold back emotions when you see your six-year-old little girl suffering helplessly. As with patients you have to be strong for their sake, but it’s quite difficult because parents love their children in a way that words can never express.
We prayed over Sophie and I apologized to her for what I had to do next. Healing her meant that some harsh action was needed. It was going to mean drinking that nasty medicine. It was going to mean taking away her comfort. It was going to mean our hearts had to break a little bit more. But it was necessary. The medicine would need time to kick in and we needed to get the blankets and thick pajamas off of her. Mommy’s hand-crocheted blanket was replaced with a cold white sheet. Sophie cried. She didn’t understand why we were putting her through this, but we knew what we were doing. As we watched her little body shake, I leaned in to her and whispered softly in her ear, “I wish Daddy could take your place.”
I immediately understood why Jesus went to the cross.
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” ~ Isaiah 53:4-6 (NIV)
God looked down in tender care for you and I and saw that we were suffering. Yet ours was no simple fever. Ours was the terminal illness of sin and there was no natural cure. Healing us would require discomfort, emotional distress, and pain. His life would be required at the cross, and we would need to go through things in this world that only He fully understands. Jesus did something for you and I that I could never do for my child. He took our place on the sickbed and gave us life everlasting. Through His life and death we are fully healed.
Lord, You are beautiful. In Christ You have taken our place and brought our sickness and suffering upon Yourself. Because of Your faithfulness we now have wholeness of life and delivery from the sting of death. Thank You for being a faithful and loving Father to us. Amen.