Every parent, I suppose, will have the unfortunate occasion of taking that first trip to the emergency room with a child. Ours finally came on Sunday night when JuliAnna rocked backwards on her chair and split open the back of her head. Thanks be to God it was not a life-threatening accident. After a shot of Novocain and a dozen staples, she was back home, safe and sound.
My husband is quite familiar with the process of cleaning out and preparing a wound for stitches. The shot of Novocain, he explained to me, is the problem. It hurt the most. He wanted to prepare her for what would come next.
‘The doctor is going to clean out the boo-boo. It will hurt a lot. But he has to do this to fix it.” he summarized.
“Yeah, you have a big boo-boo back there and they gotta fix it with the medicine. It will hurt really bad.. but you can squeeze my hand. Ok?” She nods. I wonder if she understands what we are saying.
I decide to chime in. I explain that when he fixes it, it will hurt but it is important to be very, very still. As I explain this, I can see the fear growing in her eyes so I offer some comedy relief
“When it hurts, you can cry “wahhh” or you can go ‘grrrrr’ whatever sound you wanna make.. but you got to be real still. Do you want to lay down with me while they do this or sit on Daddy?” I asked.
She decided that she would lay down on top of Mommy, with her head facing Daddy and squeezing his hand. The doctor said this would work, but warned me that I would get Novocain on my shirt. I said, “that’s okay with me.” After all the t-shirt was the least of my worries. I wondered if any parent, being told this, jumped up from the bed with objection saying “In that case, kid, you’re on your own, nobody’s staining this brand new shirt.”
As the preparations were being made, time seemed to slow down. I saw her grow more and more afraid. Her face flushed and her eyes were fearful.
She said, “I’m just sad ‘cause I wanna go home.”
We assured her we would go home, but that they had to fix the boo-boo.
“But why it gotta hurt?” she asked. Good question.
Doug explained that to fix it, it would have to hurt but then it would feel better.
“The doctor has to fix it by putting medicine on it,” he explained again.
“Put it on mommy,” she cried softly.
“Mommy doesn’t have the boo-boo, honey,” he replied.
Oh, how I wished I could not only wear a stained shirt for her, but also take on the painful medicine. But all of us in the room knew there was only one path through this situation.
In our lives, sometimes the only way through a situation is the most difficult route. Worse, it’s a route that no one can walk for you.
However, JuliAnna articulated the heavenly solution. What if someone else could walk it for us? What if we could benefit from the “fix” without having to endure the suffering in the process?
God demonstrates his love for us in that he took on our stains and our pains…he even died our death so that we can ‘be fixed’ – have eternal life! Jesus takes our painful medicine, but passes along to us the benefits. May we see anew, each day, the grace of the one who loves us and abides with us always.