By Susan Dollyhigh
The call came from New Hanover Hospital’s emergency room after the crisis with my three-year-old granddaughter had passed. “Mom, Katelyn’s okay, but we just spent four hours in the ER with her,” I heard my daughter, Emily, say on the other end of the phone line.
Even as relief flooded my mind with the words, “Katelyn’s okay,” panic rushed right in behind it as the second part of the sentence, “four hours in the ER” seeped in.
“It was just awful, Mom. We were at a self check-out at the grocery store. I was scanning our groceries and Katelyn was sitting in the cart with her baby doll. Turning my back to her for just a second, she attempted to climb out of the cart and fell face first to the floor,” Emily said.
Katelyn’s little head hit the concrete floor with a sickening thud. Those in the store who observed the accident were frightened and directed Emily to the nearest medical facility at Carolina Beach where they were vacationing.
“We were so scared, Mom. Katelyn’s head was bruised and bleeding. We took her to a walk-in facility and they sent us directly to the hospital. I cried all the way there. I wanted to trade places with her, Mom. I wanted to take her place.”
I know that feeling well, as do most parents. My heart would break as my children were growing up and experienced illness, injury and heartache. I would have given anything to trade places with them. I wanted to take their place. Parents as far back as time itself have hurt when their children hurt. Emily wanted to take Katelyn’s place and bear her pain but she couldn’t. As much as I wanted to take my children’s places as they suffered I could only remain close by and let them know that I loved them.
God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, so that all who believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life. Jesus left Heaven and came to earth – a place that is full of sin and suffering. And Jesus, being fully God, did exactly what Emily and I wanted to do but couldn’t – He took our place. There on Calvary’s Hill He died on the cross for us, He paid the price for our sins – a price that was ours to pay. He suffered as He hung on the cross waiting to die. The suffering should have been ours. Jesus traded places with us. Jesus took our place.