Friday, April 6, 2012

Trading Places - A Good Friday Reflection

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 
~ 2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB ~

Few things will break a mother's heart like watching her child suffer.  Seeing our child in pain, tearful, and wishing they could be free of a chronic condition is truly awful.  We would gladly take their place any day of the week.

This past month, my son has been through one difficulty after another.  It all began with a painful, spontaneous bleed in his hip.  It was a frightening experience for him.  He was hospitalized, undergoing tests and procedures he was unfamiliar with, and receiving more than his fair share of needle pokes.  He continued a rough journey after his discharge as he was restricted in his mobility and acquiesced to using his wheelchair.  And multiple subsequent troubles have landed him back in the ER.  He's missed many fun events at school.  The tears have flowed as I've held him, crying for the pain to stop, his diagnosis to vanish and even his life to end.

The anguish this lays upon a mother's heart is heavy.  My mind rushes to the only place I know we can receive help -- Jesus.  As our knees buckle under the human weight of these trials, I point my son to the One who knows our suffering.  I reassure him that we can overcome each crisis through Him who gives us strength. (Phil 4:13)  And I remind him that we have a loving Savior who has suffered what we have and more.  (Hebrews 4:15)

As I try to comfort my son with eternal hope, wishing I could trade places with him, I am humbled by the One who trade places with me.  I know the byproducts of my sin bring on far more pain and suffering than the byproducts of my son's diagnosis.  What my depravity warrants is death and eternal separation from God. (Romans 6:23)  It's ugly in every way, leading to never-ending agony.  Still, Jesus stepped in to remove it from me and protect me forever.

In fact, as we reflect on the sorrow of Good Friday, it's important to focus on the fact that Jesus traded places with all of us.  We are the ones that torture and painful death were meant for.  We were the ones who should have suffered that hopeless separation from the Father.  But because Jesus lovingly and humbly took that upon Himself, we have promise that goes far beyond any hospitalization, chronic disease or unrelenting pain we or our loved ones may face.

As I hear the haunting words of Jesus on Good Friday, crying out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46), I identify with the heartache of the Father.  How He must have wished he could remove the crushing weight from His Son, just as I want to relieve my son as he cries out to me!  Even so, there are some things I cannot lift from my child.  And for this sin debt to be paid, reuniting mankind with their estranged Creator, the Father could not take from His child either.  I share in the passion of Christ in significant ways because of the deep identifying with suffering and substitution.

When I reflect on such things, the somber gratitude for what was done to save us completely overwhelms me.  Such unspeakable, precious love was poured out upon us because Jesus was willing to take our place.  How uniquely positioned we are as parents of children with special needs to enter into the profound awe of what happened through Christ's persecution, death, and resurrection!

Pray:  Oh, sweet Jesus!  You know just what kind of love I have in my heart when I wish to trade places with my child.  Yet, You love us far more.  On this Good Friday, let me quiet myself with reverent awe as I contemplate the enormous price You paid for me.

~ Barb Dittrich


  1. Barb, once again you have put everything I have been going through into a clearer perspective. Thank you!

  2. Barb, once again you have nailed the truth with your openness, vulnerbility and passion for Jesus! For the record, I sent you a note on FB BEFORE I read this. Even tho' we've never met face-to-face we are sisters to the bone as our hearts track with Him! I am astonished that what comforts me today is the same truth and grace where you are planting your flag today! I love you!