Thursday, October 1, 2009

THE STAND-IN


"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13, NIV)

READ Isaiah 53

Parenting a child with a special need offers a unique opportunity to identify with our amazing God! What parent wouldn't gladly suffer in the place of their child? Heart-wrenching barely begins to describe the experience of watching ones offspring endure pain, poor health, endless poking with needles, prodding and testing. Rejection by other children and personal emotional struggles are anguishing as well.

I recall a time when I was pregnant with our third child and had to undergo a fasting test for gestational diabetes. As I drank the concentrated orange syrup and subsequently endured at least 4 timed, periodic blood draws, my eyes welled with tears. So this is how my poor boy must feel, I grieved. My numerous sticks with a needle caused me to deeply identify with the 3 sticks per week my then 2-year-old son was undergoing for treatment of his severe hemophilia. Oh, how I would have given anything to take his place!

While each of us as adults is far from the blameless innocence of a child with a special need, we are lavishly loved by One who would much rather take our place than watch us suffer eternally. When I contemplate all that Jesus relinquished to become my stand-in, I am left in awe! In Isaiah 53 read all of the things that Jesus became so that we might live in Heaven forever. He became: small, vulnerable, unattractive, resented, hated, rejected, suffering, sorrowful, one who people turn away from, sick, not held in high regard, someone we thought brought the trouble on himself, tortured, punished, crushed, wounded, carrier of our shortcomings and injustice, oppressed, quietly obedient, submissive, judged, childless, stricken, anguished, discarded, poured out, a human sacrifice, killed.

But in becoming our stand-in, Jesus did something that you and I could never do for our children. He became The Victor over death! In doing so, He now serves as our personal Advocate before the throne of His Father in Heaven. How blest we are!

The next time you find yourself in a place of angst for your loved one, remember the One who was able to take your place and did so willingly. Give glory to God for all you were spared because of the tender love of your Stand-In!

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