Taking up Infirmities

A Bed Too Short by Annie Vallotton, n.d.

You may or may not have noticed that I did not post any sort of blog last week. While I had plans and ideas and a few drafts running around, I never had the time to sit down and flesh out what I had started. This was due, in no small part, to the fact that our two-year old daughter was crazy sick. The past almost two weeks have been full of late nights, doctor visits, staying home from work, broken sleep and broken hearts from watching our miserably sick child. All of these conspired against me from posting anything.

Honestly, all of these things conspired against us from doing much of anything last week.

Probably the toughest thing for us was when we would put her down at night she would often wake up coughing or just uncomfortable from a fever. Then, after some late-night side-elbows or groaning to decide who got up and who would go back to sleep, my wife or I would to go in and try to comfort her back to sleep. This would often involve taking her out of the crib, sitting in a chair and rocking her back to sleep. One night when the lot fell to me, I began rocking my daughter to sleep as she proceeded to cough some more, inches away from my face.

“Man, I hope I don’t get sick.” I thought. Visions of more time spent away from work and my poor wife managing the house while my daughter and I coughed in disturbing harmony raced through my head. Somewhat miraculously, my wife and I had avoided catching the contagion. But, every late night and coughing fit seemed like a prime opportunity for our tired bodies to get infected. As I rocked in the chair, my mind split between the worry that I might get sick and the concern for my frustratingly ill child…a Bible verse flashed into my head.

It was certainly our sickness that he carried, and our sufferings that he bore, but we thought him afflicted, struck down by God and tormented.
Isaiah 53:4 (CEB)

I suddenly realized, this is a small vision into what Jesus did for us. Entering into the dark and broken sickness of our world, he scoops us up and rocks us in his lovingly pierced arms. In that, some might say he risked infection, risked suffering and risked exposure to that which was making his beloved creation sick. In a way, as the prophet Isaiah points out, he chose to expose himself. He came down to take up our sicknesses, our sufferings and our pain so that he might carry them away.

His exposure was not a sign of his weakness.

His exposure was a sign of his love.

Leave it up to God to turn you into a pile of emotions and tears in the middle of the night as you’ve found yourself somewhere between a pit of frustration and overflowing love and concern. I accepted that I might get sick. But at that moment, comforting my daughter, holding her and loving her was helping her heal. I was exposing myself, hoping that I might help carry her infirmity away.

Sickness be damned, I held her closer and kept rocking.

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