I recently visited a hospital and was particularly struck with the complete dependence of patients on the medical staff. The patients know their needs and follow every instruction of medical officers. There is trust there with the patient knowing full well the doctor means well for them.
The other thing that hit me was the vulnerability of the patient. There’s no judgement in the hospital because everyone is there because they are sick and in need of help. Therefore the most embarrassing positions in the outside world are accepted as normal. For example, is not unusual for the patient to urinate on the bed and call for help! Indeed, asking for help is encouraged as part of the healing process.
These two things strike a deep cord with me because I once complained to my older brother that many churches are surprisingly unreliable and lack the authenticity one would expect of true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. He helpfully responded, "what do you expect? The church is an hospital where sick people go". I still can’t find a better metaphor for the church!
In the church we really are all sick of sin and death in our bodies and have come before Jesus Christ the Great Physician for healing. The Bible says that Jesus was “wounded for our transgressions” and that “by his stripes we have been healed”. Jesus has healed us from sin and death through his death and resurrection. And his work of care continues through God the Spirit who deals with all that ravages on a daily basis. And the Lord Jesus Christ will finally completely transplant us into new bodies at the end of time to make us like Himself for all eternity!
So how then shall true Christians behave as they wait for that final day? Like hospital patients! We are to be completely dependent on the Great Physician. We are to realise that the solution to our daily sins is found in Jesus Christ alone. Unlike our human doctors Dr Jesus knows what he is doing because he knows every part of our lives. He has walked in our shoes as the God-man of Galilee. And of course he lives in the hearts of all who have turned their backs on sin and turned to Him alone as their only Saviour and Lord!
The presence of Jesus in our lives is a game changer. As Paul David Tripp says : "Knowing that Christ lives in us makes it possible for us to get up in the morning when circumstances are hard and the relationships around us are messy. We don’t have to fear what things we’ll have to deal with that are just around the corner. Our rest is not to be found in our understanding of everything in our lives or the sense that we have what it takes to face our trials. Christ is our rest, hope, courage, and motivation. Because of his amazing grace and his presence now living inside us, we are never alone, never left to live inside the boundaries of our own resources..." (Source : Forever)
I don't know about you but there are moments in my life when life seems deeply unpredictable and difficult to handle. The temptation always is to manage everything to the point of no longer living. We can become focused with worrying about the future. This sadly makes us fall at the mercy of self appointed prophets. The religious variety take the mode of the evangelist/prophet on television. The secular variety takes the form of life management gurus telling us we can have the "best life now" if only we plan carefully.
Paul David Tripp reminds us for the Christian living starts with God himself and not us! Jesus lives within me and that is already a full tank! You see, it's not about what I know it's about who I know. It's not about what I own in this world, it's about who owns me. It's not about what I have done or will do in the future, it's about what Jesus has already accomplished through his death and resurrection.
And because of what Jesus has done and who we are now in him we can be open with believers in our local churches. Jesus has paid the full price of our sins. So it is no longer a great embarrassment to lift up your hand and say, “I am sinking”. We know we are patients being healed. We are a great work in progress that has a clear and certain outcome unlike earthly patients in hospitals.
So what more is there to hide? Nothing! And yet we certainly hide! We are strangled by our own private agonies, struggles and sins. We have forgotten we have come to a Wounded Saviour. And we have forgotten that we are in a hospital for the wounded. We need to pray that God opens our hearts to see the beauty of the good news of Jesus Christ. To see it for what it really is. Namely that Jesus has fully paid for all my sins and shame.
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2013