Like most parents, I hate immunizations. They suck. Not because of the controversial reasons that parents hate them lately, I’m actually very thankful for them. But they still suck to deal with. I’ve never met a single parent who enjoyed taking their kids to get them. So many pictures on facebook have captions that read, “she’s so happy and has no idea she’s about to get shots!” That’s the worst! Especially when they are like 4 months old and smiling at you like crazy and then suddenly BAM they look at you like, “what’d you dooooo?”
Silas especially struggles with them. I always dread it. We don’t like to throw things like this at him. He does much better when he knows what to expect, that’s just his personality. I remember looking back at him one time when we were on the way to the doctor’s office. He was starring out the window with his hands held together in his lap. He’d move his fingers nervously now and then. He wasn’t quiet though. Silas talks a lot especially when he’s nervous. We had explained plenty of times that these shots keep him from getting diseases that could make him very sick or even kill him. He’s always been a logical one, so he understood and he’d talk about that on the way. He would explain it all to his sister too. So he knew why he had to get them.
Sometimes in the waiting room he would ask me if there were other ways to do this, and could I ask the doctor if there was just some medicine he could take instead. Of course I would explain that there wasn’t another way and that when it was all over we would go and get ice cream. “Ice Cream!? Ok, I can do this mom. It won’t be so bad. And it will be over quick, right dad?”
The nurse would come out and call his name and he’d look at me, take his daddy’s hand, and we’d walk back.
Panic would hit him and he would try to hide. He’d scream and scream. He’d look at me and beg, “mommy mommy mommy please please please!!!” I wanted to stop it. I wanted to rescue him. But I knew I couldn’t. I mean it was just a simple couple of shots but he was terrified and that is so hard to see. His father had him, logically I knew he’d be alright. We’d have to hold him down. I would get physically shaken at all of this. As he yelled and yelled I’d say, “it’s alright, it’ll only be for a moment, you’re almost done, almost done.” It was almost done. But my heart was breaking. Within a few minutes, Michael carried my sobbing boy to me. Immediately he’d reach for me, and I would hold him and comfort him, “see? All done! All finished! You did it!”
So why am I thinking about this today? Good Friday.
At the cross, God experienced excruciating pain in more ways than one.
What He went through as the Son was horrible. The crucifixion itself, the beatings, the humiliation. You know the gory details. You know the story. How incredibly awful.
Even more, God as Father experienced the awful agony of watching your child endure pain. Is there anything worse? Yes the physical pain of the Cross must have been agonizing but I would gladly take that over watching my son go through it. In a second. I won’t even allow my imagination to go there. Like my husband in the doctor’s office, God had to stand by and let his son endure it. Jesus asked, ““Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Which is only a much grander and larger scale version of Silas asking, “can the doctor just give me some medicine instead?” But Jesus knew, just like Silas knew the reason for his immunizations. Jesus knew that this was the only way. Jesus knew that what He was about to endure would rid the world of the disease of sin and death. He did all of this so He wouldn’t have to watch you go through it. “But he does see me go through pain.” Yes. But the worst part of the cross wasn’t the physical pain. Would you rather have a broken bone, or feel deeply homesick for the rest of your life? Think about that.
A heavy heart is torture. Imagine the weight of all the world upon you. Literally. Imagine what it would be like to feel the absolute separation from God. That is such torture. Think of the worst time you were homesick. Imagine the feeling you get at the shock of losing a loved one. Those feelings can’t even compare. Imagine if you were separated from God. God doesn’t just love you He is the source of love itself. God is love. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. So to be without Him is to be void of every ounce of goodness, laughter, love, relationship, home. This is what Jesus endured in that moment so you would never have to. He saved you from something much worse than death: eternal separation from the the source of every ounce of good or beauty.
And as He did so, God the Spirit strengthened Him to continue. The Spirit of God was there whispering, as I would to my son in the doctor’s office, “it’s alright, it’s almost over, almost done.”
God not only endured the physical pain of the cross. He experienced it from every angle. He not only watched Jesus suffer, as Jesus He felt the suffering. And even more than that He watched Jesus endure the shame and ridicule, and He felt it Himself also. Have you ever had a child you care about tell you that they have been bullied at school? Or had them tell you that they don’t have any friends? Honestly, I think I’d take the doctor’s office over that. It’s such an awful feeling to hear those words. And Jesus was going through all of that as His friends deserted him, and the guards pushed Him, spit on Him, made fun of Him. They literally bullied Him. He watched, and felt it at the same time. That’s double the pain and anguish.
So why did God watch? Why did Jesus go through with it?
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross”. The joy set before Silas was ice cream. He knew that when I said, “all done!” he’d get a band-aid an iron man sticker and we’d go out for a treat. Jesus knew that as soon as the Spirit within Him said, “all done” he could cry out, “It is finished!” and you and I would be free. I was the joy set before Him. You were. There is a huge party being planned right now because Jesus is going to come back. And when He does we’ll finally get to be with Him. Not only that but you get to be YOU again in the fullest way. There will be no more sickness or dying or hunger or immunizations. That was the joy set before Him. You are the reason that He went through all of that.
Jesus took our punishment upon Himself. Jesus is the immunization against death, anguish, destruction, mourning, and punishment. And if you've accepted that then you've been immunized. You know the story. Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. He is alive and He is coming back. You are the joy set before Him, and He is coming back.
I am amazed at His great love for me. That He would choose this. That He would do this for me.
Just something to think about.
Note: There are much worse things to watch your child endure than immunizations. I know this. Many of you have gone through horrible things that I hope I never have to endure. I am praying for you. I chose this example because I felt like it was one that every parent could relate to.