“My stomach hurts.”
That was all he said as we exited our vehicle that Good Friday. I had just capitalized on the opportunity of a captive audience as we drove to a friend’s house. I had taken the opportunity of a captive (in a literal sense, they literally were captive in my van – not to be confused with intrigued and spellbound) audience to elaborate on the events of that First Good Friday. As the Martin 3 and I traversed the roads I spent the time telling them the timeline of Jesus’ last hours. I want them to grow up with an ever-present knowledge of how He loves them and what He was willing to do on their behalf.
As we meandered over the curvy roads I explained how He healed an ear, was dropped down a hole, stood next to a known murderer, who despite a warning Pilate had to free -beaten. I took an opportunity to remind them of the world history they’ve learned and the role of the Roman Empire. I reminded them of the Passover we had experienced the night before with some friends and the significance of the Pascal Lamb. I told them how He was beaten, and not only was He beaten, He was mocked and humiliated, hurt beyond anything we could imagine. How at the very moment He needed the Father, the Father wasn’t there.
I told them about the temple and the veil and how human hands couldn’t have torn it. I told them about words He spoke from the cross. I explained how crucifixion works and how Jesus died before there was an opportunity to receive the final blow leading to death. I told them this and reminded them over and over and over that the motivation for such a terrible thing was Love. A love like the world had never seen before. A love like no other. A love for each of them. A love so strong that Jesus took their place. He took my place. He took on the sin of the world.
As we reached our destination the heaviness was palpable in the car. The chatty Martin 3 were silent a moment. Maggie, who seems to understand best how much she needs the King, expressed her love for Him and was delighted to know what He said from the cross. Charlotte, my silent ponderer, just looked around, and I could almost see her thoughts of silent reflection. Shelton, only said the above statement.
“My stomach hurts.”
Those 3 words made me understand exactly what he was thinking. Shelton is much like his mama and when I am deeply troubled by something my stomach hurts. When I empathize with someone who is hurting, my stomach hurts. I reminded him that all is well, because despite the events I had just described. Jesus is alive and He loves us. He is close and we do not have to be afraid. And he came to take away all the hurts.
Then in the time it took to walk from a curb to the front door of a friend’s home his stomach no longer hurt.
A Good Friday indeed.
As you go about your day tomorrow, Good Friday, meditate upon the the stomach churning events of that Friday some 2,000+ years ago. Allow yourself to absorb the gravity of the sacrifice He made, so that Sunday you may rejoice in the victory of His resurrection.