As I cleaned my house this morning, I began to dust over the things that I dust each week. Every time I do this, I feel sickened as I continue to dust over those same photos of my daughter. The photos that are frozen in time. They will never be replaced with new ones of her as she grows older. The darkness of this reality began to sink it's way deep into my soul. It felt like a Saturday today, until I realized that it was only Friday. Friday. Good Friday. He died today. Today is the day that God's son died. My Ashley died on a Friday too. I wondered what God wanted me to know about this day. As a parent of a child who died, I desired to see this day as such...the day God's son died. I wanted to respect this sacred day for God.
The first thing I realized that was different about the day that Ashley died and the day that Jesus died was that on that day, God gave his son willingly. God knew he was going to die, actually, he sent Jesus here for that reason. He created his son to die. Jesus, being God in human form knew this too. Yet in his human likeness, he desired to escape the snare of death. He agonized over the very thing he came to do, but because he was God and a man, he could indeed choose to die for the sake of the ones he came to save. I could not do this. I could not have chosen to give my child. I would choose to keep her. I wouldn't send my child willingly to die for someone else. But, God knew how much he loved me, how much he loved his children. He knew how imperfect we were.....He knew that our sins could not go unpunished, so he took them. He covered himself in my sin. His perfect, flawless self became all that I am. God looked at his son dressed in my sin and cast the fullness of His wrath on him. He scorned him and turned his face from him. Jesus died alone. I loved my little girl to the very end. Never once did I have to turn my face in disgust. She died that day, and I was left in the agony of earthly pain and suffering, yet rested in the assurance that Ashley did not die alone. She was met by God, and he carried her home.
Each year that Ashley's day comes around marking the passage of yet another year, we have begun to call that day her "Heaven day." The sound of "death day" was so horrifying, I couldn't bear to call it that. Pondering this day as God's son's "heaven day" as I know it, I realized that today all those many years ago, Jesus didn't just die alone in shame. He was ushered into Hell. This was the day Jesus went to hell. How can such a perfect man go there? He didn't deserve it. I did. I deserve hell. But, he LOVED me.....as I loved my Ashley. I still love her and my only comfort in her death is knowing the life with her that awaits.
I am selfish. But, God in his selflessness....placed my sin upon his perfect son, because he loved me, then went to hell in my place. He did this so that I wouldn't have to suffer for my sin, but also because He couldn't bear to be apart from me forever. He paid for my sin. It didn't stop there. He wanted to give me more. He wanted me to have all that was his. So, on the third day....he conquered death and hell. He became alive again erasing my sins, dressed me in His righteousness and presented me with the gift of heaven. It is because of him that I will see Ashley again. It is because of him that I will never die alone.
This day, was the day that Jesus went to Hell. In MY place.