I've had some stressful rehearsals as a worship leader in my church, but last Sunday took the cake.
While my wife and I were on the stage practicing with the band, my daughters were running around the sanctuary pretending they were queens in Narnia. I noticed they were up in the balcony at one point, but I didn't pay much attention to them. But then over the sound of the music, I thought I heard someone screaming.
I looked up and I saw that the heavy, wooden door to the balcony had closed on my four-year-old daughter's fingers, and she was trying to pull her hand out of the narrow opening next to the hinges. My stomach dropped.
I threw my music down, jumped off the stage, and ran for the balcony stairs at the back of the room. There was a chain across the entrance to the stairs, and I jumped over it, thinking, I'm probably going to trip when I do this. I didn't.
I lunged up the stairs, three steps at a time; got to the top; ran across the balcony; and threw the door open to free my daughter's fingers. Then I swept her up, held her close as she screamed, and said, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
It probably took six seconds for me to get from the stage to the other side of the balcony, but those were six seconds too long for me. When I got back on the stage, the band looked mortified, and I was unnerved. But we had limited time to rehearse, so I tried to keep going.
"Alright y'all, Rock of Ages is next," I said, but then I stopped. "Man, that was hard to see my daughter hurting like that."
"Why don't we pray for her?" said Patrick, the percussionist. And in leading the prayer, he said, "God, I know it must have broken Your heart to see Your Son in pain there on that cross — yet for our sake, You did not rescue Him."
I've been thinking about Patrick's prayer since last Sunday, and I can't stop thinking about the cries of my daughter and Jesus. I simply cannot grasp the kind of love that holds a Father back from rescuing His Son, who is crying out, "My God, My God, why ... ?" (Matthew 27:46).
I know God the Father heard those cries. I know He didn't ignore them. But I cannot know or understand His anguish. I cannot fathom the sound of Him weeping for a Son who became our sin so that we could become His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). The floor of heaven must have been drenched in tears.
One day, hopefully, my daughter will grow up and realize she needs to be rescued in a way that's beyond my capability. She will see that she needs to be saved from the toxic sin that poisons her relationship with God. And thanks to Jesus, when she cries out for mercy, her heavenly Father will be there in an instant to take her in His arms and make everything right.