Good Friday morning at 3AM, my little 9 year old daughter knocked on my bedroom door. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and croaked, "Come in."
The door opened and Amie stepped in holding a big mixing bowl. "I threw up and I don't feel good." She told me in a weak little voice. I hopped out of bed, threw on my housecoat and gently led her back to her bed. She rocked back and forth with pains in her belly and I sat by her side, holding her sweet little hand and stroking her forehead while I softly sang lullabies from when she was a baby. By 5AM, I had made it back to my own bed thanking God that it was Good Friday and I could sleep in.
It was not to be. By 7:30 I was in the bathroom, sitting on the john with bowl in my lap retching violently. Down the hall I could hear Amie being sick again and called for Mark to go and be with her.
By 9 o'clock, Amie and I lay in my bed together praying for God to touch us and make us well again. All day and night Amie and I took turns in the bathroom being sick. It was the worst I have ever felt...and I have has 3 natural childbirths, so that is saying something. I cried and cried and begged God to touch us and take the pain away.
By Saturday morning the worst of it had passed - thank God. My little Amie lay on the pillow next to me and stoked my cheek. "Mommy," she said, "I prayed that if God would only make one of us better that it would be you." She smiled at me. Her hair was stuck to her forehead from the sweat and her little face was as white as a ghost. Dark smudges under her big brown eyes spoke of the strain of the last 24hrs, yet her heart was filled with love and she smiled at me. My heart melted. My sweet little girl. How much must she love me to ask God to make me better before her? It reminded me of a saying I had once heard. I think it goes something like this; I asked the Lord, 'How much do you love me?' 'This much' He replied. Then He spread His arms and died for me.
It had been Good Friday. The day we lay in bed and suffered an illness like I have never felt. The day we remember how Jesus suffered and died for our sins on the cross. The day we remember how they beat Jesus and spat at Him and hated Him. How much greater was His suffering than my own? Yet He chose to do it. At any moment He could have called the angels down to set Him free, yet He chose to suffer. It was His love for me that held Him to the cross.
Just like my little Amie, turning to me and telling me that she would go on being sick, if it meant God would heal me, Jesus died on the cross as His way of saying, "It's okay. I asked God to punish me instead of you. I will die so you don't have to." I can imagine the love in His eyes, shining like the love I saw in my daughter's eyes, smiling through the pain because of love. Beautiful, forgiving, perfecting, unconditional love. Good Friday is not what it was....it was a Great Friday.
Matthew 27:39-44 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"
In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' " In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me enough to willingly suffer for me. For protecting me from my own just punishment. How great must your love be to suffer so very much? Am I worth it? I don't know, yet you did it, so I must be of great value to You. What an honor, what a humbling insight. Thank you for turning this illness into a beautiful experience that has led me closer to You. I love you so very much. Amen.