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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Scism

When I See My Child Suffer, I See Christ's Love on the Cross

I sat beside her in the hospital bed for the second night. The IV pump rhythmically dripped

fluids into her weak body. My little girl hadn’t eaten for days. And the few drinks we had convinced her to take were but drops compared to the amount she needed. And so the IV dripped.

My normally loud, energetic 5-year-old lay on that hospital bed—still, silent, and empty. She had been bit in the lip by a dog and though the stitches repaired the torn skin, we couldn’t get her to eat or drink. We spent three nights in the closest children’s hospital, working with doctors and nurses to push her to use her mouth again. It was a long, difficult week with steps forward and then backward.

Many times, I wanted to magically trade places with her. I wanted to be inside her body, feel what she felt, think what she thought. I desperately wanted to take her place so she didn’t have to suffer.

I’ve had that desire before—to take my child’s place.

Sitting on her bed as she pours out her heart, agonizing over friendship struggles—I want to take her place.

Holding his hand as the asthma threatens his ability to breathe easily—I want to take his place.

Pushing him away into his teacher’s arms as tears stream down his little face and he cries, “I want mommy,”—I want to take his place.

Holding her hair back as her stomach lurches and empties into the bucket I’m holding—I want to take her place.

Walking beside her as she lays out the pros and cons of an important decision, unsure of the right choice—I want to take her place.

Facing the hard consequences of making the right decision in an upside-down world—I want to take his place.

So much of parenting is helping our kids through difficult times, knowing they must learn to face these trials on their own, while simultaneously wanting to take their place, take their pain, take their struggles.

It’s in moments like these when I’m reminded of Jesus’ love for me. A love so strong that He took my place on the cross. “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NLT).

Nothing makes me understand and appreciate the cross more than in the moments when I want to take my child’s place.

The power of the cross is held within the fact that Jesus took my place. He suffered the pain and punishment of God’s wrath instead of me.

Jesus wanted to take my place. He didn’t want the punishment of the cross. He didn’t want to face God’s wrath. He didn’t want to endure the agony and physical pain of crucifixion. In fact, on the night of His betrayal, He prayed to His Father in Heaven to find another way. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39).

But there was no other way. And He wanted to take my place.

The only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection.

Friend, I hope you understand the power of the cross. I hope you realize that Jesus took your place. He loved you so very much that He hung on that cross so you didn’t have to. Jesus himself said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, NIV). You are His friend. He died for you.

Though He didn’t want to suffer, Jesus willingly walked toward Golgotha, the place of crucifixion, because He loved you and wanted to take your place. Hanging on that cross, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. . . ‘” (Luke 23:34a, NIV).

Will you take hold of that truth today? Will you live your life in response to His amazing grace? Will you face your day knowing that Jesus loved you so much that not only did He want to take your place, but He willingly did it.


Thank You for the sacrifice of the cross. Sometimes I forget how much You love me. Sometimes I forget that You took my place, You took my punishment. You died for ME. Thank you. Help me live in a way that reflects the love You’ve shown me.

In Your Great Name,


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