He Took Our Pain

By Major Beth Desplancke

When my oldest son, Ryan, was 7 ½ years old, my mother-in-law, on a Monday morning, took him to the doctor’s office for a drop-in appointment, because he had been sick all weekend. We thought it wasn’t too serious; that’s why she took him, because I had another appointment to be at that morning.

Cathy checked him at the doctor’s office. They immediately took him back and put him on oxygen, and informed Cathy that they had called 9-1-1 and an ambulance was on the way. He was transported to Oakland Children’s Hospital – two cities away! We discovered that he had asthma and had we waited any longer to get him to a doctor, he would have died. Five long grueling days my child spent in the hospital.

It broke my heart, and I was utterly helpless. I could do nothing for him! Time went so slowly and the first three days there seemed to be no progress. When it was my turn to leave Ryan and go to the cafeteria, I shed lots of tears. I did a lot of praying, begging and pleading with God for Him to do something. I would have willingly traded places with Ryan, and would have given my life, if I could. Finally on day 4, he was much better, and on the Friday we were able to take him home. Thankfully, he never had a bad issue with asthma again (today he’s a healthy 24-year-old, college graduate and just started his first job in his chosen career).

Those days in the hospital, where I sat by his bed, holding his hand, I couldn’t do much (it was before the days of smart phones so there was no scrolling on Social media or playing mindless games). I spent a lot of time praying silently and thinking about God and His Word. I immediately thought of Mary, Jesus’ mother, as she stood and watched her child be beaten and ridiculed, and then forced to carry His own cross to the place of His crucifixion.

Mary didn’t shy away from the pain, but John records the fact Mary was at the foot of the cross, watching everything her son endured. John 19:26-27 says When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved, standing nearby he said her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother…” Even in His anguish and pain, Jesus noticed His mom, spoke to His mom, and made sure she was taken care of.

As a mom, I am sure Mary winced, cried secretly (she would have wanted her son to see she was strong), prayed and even bargained with God. I am sure she would have exchanged places with her son if she could. But she knew Jesus had come for a greater purpose. She and Joseph had been told that: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).” Perhaps it was at that moment, she recalled when Simeon had said 33 years earlier, when Jesus, as a baby, was presented at the temple, “And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35). Mary, too, was helpless. There was nothing she could do but watch her child suffer.

Mary hurt for her child, but Jesus suffered. He experienced the whip, the thorns on His brow, the weight of the cross on his bleeding back and the nails physically. His flesh tore, He lost a lot of blood. He had trouble breathing. He thirsted, and then He breathed His last breath. He endured a pain that we will never fully understand. He willingly died for us. Our sins need to be paid for, and He paid the price for us. Isaiah 53: 4-6 states,

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Hallelujah that Jesus took our pain. Unlike Mary and I, who could not switch places with our sons, Jesus did switch places with us. He endured what was meant for us. That is the beauty of the Easter story. Jesus took our place, and died a horrible death, so that we would not have to endure the punishment for our sin. He was afflicted, pierced, crushed, wounded, punished and suffered so we could have healing and peace through Jesus Christ.

Yes, in this world, we will have pain, hurt, sorrows and suffering. Jesus told us that would be the case in John 16:33. But then He made this promise, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Hallelujah the Lord understands our pain and our suffering. Hallelujah, He took our place and bore the pain that we should have endured.