… the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Last Friday night, I spent some time with my 14-year-old and two adorable little girls wearing a sweatshirt and yoga pants merrily festooned with vomit.
It was glorious.
Well, OK, not the vomit of course…
My Sweet Potata had agreed to babysit for some friends but had neglected to tell me the two previous nights had been sleepless for her. Once my gang arrived home from school, her bleary eyes and slumped shoulders told the tale even before she could confess.
So I decided to tag along and be her wingman. We had a fantastic conversation on the drive over, and the first couple of hours were filled with joyful giggles and silly games. At the appropriate time, my no-longer-little girl tucked the two sweeties into bed we both settled in to do a little reading.
Twenty minutes later, I was bathing the youngest while big sister provided Sweet Potata with a detailed narrative of the differences between her sister’s vomit and the one time she had thrown up.
At this point, I wasn’t sure if excitement or illness had caused the event, but I was thankful God had worked things out so Sweet Potata and I could switch hit. Once the little one was bathed, Sweet Potata sat with the sisters and read books while I cleaned up the crib. Not long after, she had big sister back in bed while I held the little one in another room.
Seconds later, said little one was back in the tub and my clothing had acquired some distinctive new attributes. Even still, it was a wonderful evening.
You see, now that my own children are teens, connection with them does not always come as easily as it did when they were small. They no longer believe I know everything and in fact are often convinced I am not even capable of spelling my name correctly. They definitely doubt my abilities.
But all of it – the pulling away, the incessant questioning of my motives, the disbelief that our family rules are there for the good of each person, the reluctance to believe my insistence on a hygienic household and on the nutritional deficit of Pop Tarts have merit– all of it is a natural and necessary part of growing up.
But as a parent, it is a painful part.
And crazily, as I sat in the floor with the towel-wrapped toddler by my side (because my lap was, shall we say, no longer a pleasing place to snuggle), I had a powerful glimpse of the enormity of God’s love for me.
Like my teenage daughter, I spent much of my life pulling away from my Father. In truth, I rejected Him entirely.
All of humanity did. We all wanted to go our own way, test our boundaries without the pesky interference of thoughts for the future. We all disbelieved His laws were given out of love and concern for us. We all sinned and fell short of His glory.
Yet so great is His love that He did not give up on us.
Instead, He sent His Son away from Glory to immerse Himself in humanity. The Creator subjecting Himself to all the vile things which occur in a human body since the day sin entered and brought decay and death into His creation.
While here, Yeshua reached past the festering reek of leprosy and touched those who were infected by it – despite the social stigma of being unclean.
He raised the dead. He endured being spat upon, mocked, and brutally tortured. It is likely there were times when He was covered in worse things than vomit.
Suddenly, as I sat with one arm wrapped around a sick little sweetie, listening to my daughter’s voice mingled with big sister’s and ignoring the clammy funk of my own clothing, I realized something.
Yeshua came and suffered the nastiness of being human because it was worth it.
To me, all the cleaning up – and yes, even the light coating of vomit – was worth it. That night, I was able offer friends who are dealing with so much a chance to have some time alone together. I had the privilege of offering comfort to one I claim as a part-time daughter.
But most of all, it was worth it to reach through the wall of adolescent stubbornness and bring a little restoration into my relationship with my daughter. To talk with her and enjoy each other as we did when she was small. To know I was there by her side in a difficult situation.
And that is precisely why my Lord came. To restore the connection He once had with His beloved creation. To walk through the yuck with us.
For Him, I believe, it was worth wearing a bit of foulness to walk and talk with His beloved children once more as He used to before sin entered the world.
Which just makes me love Him even more.
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
(2 Corinthians 1:5)