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A Reflection on Easter: To the Parent Who Watched Their Child Die



I guess my heart has never had the capacity to wrap itself around the full picture.

Not until this year.

Not until this Easter, as I raised one arm up in the air to worship Your name while the other wrapped its way around the baby hiked up on my hip.

I’ve only ever pictured the Easter story through Jesus’ perspective. Through the eyes of the spectators. The disciples. The Roman soldiers. I’ve never thought to put myself in Your shoes, God. Or maybe up until now I never truly could.

The Gospel story is what first wrecked my heart for You. It’s what stopped me in the tracks of my lukewarm life and shattered my logic and rewrote my history, titled “GRACE FREELY GIVEN.” It was that story of sacrifice. That Jesus story. That grace that wasn’t actually free, after all.

Someone had to pay the price for my sins. And all this time I’ve believed it was Jesus Who did.

But I’m starting to wonder if the greater price was paid by You.

As I stared at my blue-eyed girl there was no hesitation in my thoughts that I would willingly give my life for my child. But I couldn’t swallow the idea of asking my child to give her life for others that I love. No, not my baby. That’s not fathomable to me. Not as her mommy. It hurts my heart to even hear her cry. But to watch her die? Absolutely not.

No. I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t watch my child be sacrificed.

But You. You had to.

I think sometimes there’s a disconnect when I think of You, God. You are the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. I truly do believe You see the full picture. You are orchestrating a mighty work that is inconceivable to me. I don’t always understand it. I don’t always understand You. But I believe You are Holy. And I trust You.

I COULDN'T SWALLOW THE IDEA OF ASKING MY CHILD TO GIVE HER LIFE FOR OTHERS THAT I LOVE. NO, NOT MY BABY. THAT'S NOT FATHOMABLE TO ME.

In the same breath that also often leaves me believing that this is all easy for You. That since You know You will have victory in the end, that somehow the battles don’t faze you. But I’m starting to understand the heart of a parent -- so it’s becoming increasingly impossible to believe that’s true.

If You are my Heavenly Father, and I your daughter, then you must actively, PRESENTLY feel as deeply for me as I do for You. You are a God of the present. And as I believe You can be pleased and honored and glorified in the moment, I must also believe You can be grieved, too.

I wonder then, God, how deeply You must have grieved those moments at Calvary. Those moments leading up to Jesus’ death. Watching Your innocent Baby, Your Boy, being betrayed and beaten, mocked and crucified. Nailed to that rugged cross.

You were His Father. And I’m now a mother. And if I am made in Your image, and the things I feel for my daughter are even a fraction of the things you felt for Your Son, I can only imagine how Your heart must have ached. How that boiling fury at the sin of the world must have set every inch of you on fire. How You must have grieved. How deeply You must have grieved that this was how it had to be.

I know You saw it coming. I know You orchestrated its necessity. The persecution itself -- it was prophecy. It was Holy. But how You must have grieved in the moment, God … when Holy and hell had to collide.

If my child had knelt before me and cried out like Jesus did, “Is there any other way, mommy?” I couldn’t have done it. I would have interceded. But you didn’t.

If my baby had been beaten and lashed and abused and forced to drag that cross while her knees buckled beneath her, I couldn’t have done it. My anger towards those hurting her would have boiled so fiercely inside of me that I would have interceded. But you didn’t.

If my blue-eyed angel had hung on that cross and in her last gasping breaths cried out in anguish, “Mommy, mommy, why have you forsaken me?” that would have been it for me. I could never have turned my back. I couldn’t have allowed her death. Nothing in me would have cared about anyone else but her. I would have interceded. But you didn’t.

I remember the deepest moment of anguish in my life. When three officers stood in the doorway of my daddy’s office and told us they had found his remains with a bullet hole in his chest. I will never forget the noise that came out of me. It was a deep, guttural, indescribable sound that welled up so deep within me, it burned when it growled out. A noise that vomited from me like brokenness. It hurt as it escaped my throat -- an anguish like I had never known.

YOU , GOD, DID THE UNFATHOMABLE AS A PARENT. YOU WATCHED YOUR CHILD DIE, BECAUSE YOU LOVED US TOO FIERCELY NOT TO.

I imagine You cried out similarly. It’s why the skies darkened and thunder rolled and the earth quaked and the veil tore in two at the moment of His death. It was finished. It was a Holy moment -- but what Holy, victorious anguish must have flowed from You. The roar of a lion in Your victory, but the cry of an aching father in what was necessary for victory to be won. All in the same breath.

You, God, did the unfathomable as a parent. You watched your child die, because You loved us too fiercely not to. You so loved the world that You gave Your one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

The same world that mocked Him, and mocks Him to this day. The same world that tried Him, sentenced Him, and put Your son to death. The same world that’s full of sinners like me–that we might come to know a love like Yours. The love that was formed before the foundations of the earth. A love so deep that it would give anything, everything, to say You are mine and I am yours. 

I guess my heart has never had the capacity to wrap itself around the full picture.

Not until this year.

Not until this Easter as I raised one arm up in the air to worship Your name while the other wrapped its way around the baby hiked up on my hip.

From a now-Mother to the eternal Father, thank you. For paying that unimaginable price. For making the greatest sacrifice so religion could die and grace could come to life.

Thank you for watching your child die so my child doesn’t have to.

So I don’t have to.

So none of us does.



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Mo Isom is a New York Times bestselling author, a nationally sought-after speaker, and a zealous voice rising up for her generation.


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