It is the call every parent dreads. Your child has been seriously injured, and you’ve either got to take them to the hospital or meet them there. It’s the trip that tests your faith.
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The impact of a baseball bat striking a child’s head is enough to end their life. I was part of a church softball league when one of my sons was about seven or eight years old. Our family was at the ball game together, and the team was warming up for a game. As batting practice was about to begin, one of the players told him to go sit in the dugout; a shielded area where the players who are not actively playing sit. I explain the term because you may not know what a “dugout” is. My son didn’t. He started to walk away, realized that he didn’t understand what he’d just been told to do, and turned to walk back to ask where he was supposed to go. As he did he was struck full force in his skull by the batter at the plate and crumpled to the ground unconscious. We rushed him to the hospital in our own car, not even waiting for an ambulance. He moved in and out of consciousness as we drove. When he was able to speak, his questions betrayed his confusion and lack of memory.
Thanks be to God, he recovered fully from his injury with no enduring issues. Evidently he inherited my thick skull. But the word “terrified” doesn’t come close to describing my emotions on the drive to the hospital that seemed like it would never end.
Today’s verse says BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED.
Many a parent has stood next to their child in the hospital and thought, “I wish I could take this pain for them.” Neither the cause nor the severity matters, nor the impact on our lives if our request were somehow to be granted. The only thing that matters is that our child is suffering. And when the child is suffering the parent is in pain. When your child is suffering, you want to exchange places.
But that was only possible once.
Our Heavenly Father saw the pain sin had wreaked in us — each of us – and said, “I want to exchange places.” And so He did. The only parent who was ever able to remove the full impact of his child’s wounds by taking them onto Himself.
And it doesn’t matter if they are wounds inflicted upon us by the sinfulness of others. He’s willing to take those. He knows that hurt people hurt people, and He came to heal and forgive. It makes no difference to Him if we were the cause of our own pain, because our stubbornness and sin cause many of our own wounds and a great deal of our own pain. He’s willing to take those as well. Every pain, each injury. He offers to take them upon Himself. BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED.
So He decided He would accept our wounds. He’d agree to be beaten, flogged, mocked and abandoned. He’d agree to be crucified and face death in order to offer you life. Every impact of all our sin was laid upon Him. For you. And me. He took it, and He did what every parent standing next to every injured child has wanted to do since the creation of parents.
By HIS wounds WE are healed.
Sometimes we wonder why bad things happen to good people. But that’s only because we tend to divide the world up into good people and bad people. The Gospel divides the world into bad people and Jesus.
“Why do bad things happen to good people?” Well, that only happened once … And He volunteered.
The gospel is the story of the greatest exchange in history. The gospel is the story of a parent’s dream fulfilled. And it’s the only story you’ll ever hear where the hero dies for the villain.