“Dad, am I going to die?”
“No baby, nothing is going to happen to you, I promise, now you just try and get some sleep.” “Ok sweetie?”
“Ok dad, I love you.”
“I love you too darling.”
Her words tore at my flesh and her tender blue eyes penetrated my soul. How could I sit here by her side, holding her tiny frail hand and tell her that she was not going to die, when within the very depths of spirit I knew otherwise? Guilt and shame overwhelmed me as I watched my one and only daughter drift off into fitful slumber. I sat silently in the cold impersonal sterileness of my daughter’s hospital room and wept softly beneath my breath. She was only twelve years old, not even old enough to have had her first date, her first prom or her first kiss from a boy. She was too young to die.
It was here in this room of sadness that I now with nothing but the silent dark to keep me company. That I beseeched the heavens as I prayed; I prayed for my daughters healing, I prayed that she not die, yet only the hum of the hospital equipment gave sound to my plea. It was then that I noticed a small bible with a notepad on the nightstand beside her bed. I picked up the bible and began to read at random hoping to find comfort in God’s word. I knew the promises of God, and I knew that he would never leave or forsake me, yet I never felt so alone or frightened in my entire life. It was then in Luke, chapter 9 where I read that Jesus said, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and announce the Kingdom of God."
This verse spoke to me in the stillness of this most fearful night. What was Jesus saying to me I thought. Am I just to let my daughter go? Am I just to give up and surrender? Dear God I prayed, I can’t just let her die, she’s my only child and…I began to weep openly now as words soon filled my heart, I reached for the pencil and paper on the nightstand and began to write furiously the following words…..
Thou art Flesh of my flesh said I, as I gently wipe the tears that came forth from your pain ridden eyes.
Oh, Sorrow and guilt has now its hold on me, for I am helpless, as I watch your soul ready to take leave.
Without malice, you with tender blue eyes look into mine and seek answers that I am unable to provide.
I pray forgiveness, for all that I can do is be here by your side, hold your hand and tell you that I love you.
Oh sweet daughter of mine, it is now, I, which questions the brevity of our earthly time and ponders such cruel fate.
If I only could, your place on that bed, would I take. Your pain and fear, would I dissolve, and precious life, I would return to thee.
With that in mind my darling, I bid thee to go and take thy leave, release thy soul and flee this life’s cruel misery.
Always know that we shall meet again, and you shall be free of your suffrage and that I held you in my arms till the end.
My hands were trembling when I had finished writing the verse. I looked down at the paper I was holding and at last realized what God was trying to say to me. He was telling me that it was ok to let go, but also in that my love for my only child was so strong that I was willing to become a substitute for her, that in my love I would gladly surrender my life so that she may live. This is what God did for man. He surrendered his own son so that man may live. Whereas I could not become an actual substitute for my daughter, Jesus, being God in the flesh could for man. For when He died upon the cross and rose again, He had completed His perfect plan and provided man the way for eternal life in that we who are believers shall meet again. I looked at my sleeping daughter with the love that only a parent can give and with peace now in my heart, I surrendered her to His perfect will.
J. Allen Wilson © ELEVEN-Twenty Two- 2006