The story of the nightly drama in the ER is no respecter of persons. Old. Young. Very old. Very young. Concerned family and friends. Worry. Panic. There are so many individuals here whose story plays out in moments. This is also our story corporately as a people, as a community, as image bearers of God.
Patients – everyone is here. The single man walking in with blood running down his arm. The elderly woman being pushed in a wheel chair by a seemingly very concerned (and also elderly) son. An infant cuddled under a blanket by his mommy. A veteran cold and shivering under a blanket. A man surrounded by family seeking to make him comfortable. A screaming mom with a newborn. A young woman helping her husband. Plus a room full of others.
Helpers – everyone is here too. Nurses seeking to discern the problem through triage and in-room care. Doctors hustling between so many patients. Security posted and aware. Support staff aplenty.
Complicated. Complicated indeed. In terms of the various individual stories, people are hurt and hurting. It is easy to see the pain. Miserable they are. Some are agitated, others are still, many are reflective, and very few are laughing. So many are a mix between scared, concerned, and worried. The physical problem is visible on some and invisible on most. They wear their pain.
What’s the corporate problem? Sin and suffering. Personal sin and Adam’s sin. We all suffer under the curse of Adam’s sin. The universe generally and individuals specifically do not function the way God intended. Our bodies fail. Our hearts (inner man) fail too. We chase false gods, believe empty promises, and serve worthless idols. We trip over our own desires. We misjudge our strength and underestimate our weakness.
Individually we wait together for answers this evening. We pray doctors are wise. We trust nurses with our care. We put our faith in blood tests, x-rays, and observational skill. We depend on others’ education, internships, and fellowships. We do not have any other choice than to trust what we hear, submit to what we are told, and wait. Wait. Wait.
Corporately we also wait. The whole universe groans for redemption (Romans 8:18-22). We do as individuals too (Romans 8:23-25). We look forward to that day (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). We pray concerning that day. We sing as we contemplate it. “What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see…” and so many more.
As individuals, God showers us with His mercy through the grace shown by doctors, nurses, and so many more. Grace comes through many avenues such as an unexpected smile, a soft greeting, a warm blanket, or a determined doctor. A diagnosis. Medicine or some other kind of intervention. Relief.
Corporately, we only have one hope. All these people. All these faces. All these individual lives. All of us, our hope is Jesus Christ. We can not fix the world around us. We can not provide or earn our own redemption. Only Jesus could pay the debt owed for our sins. His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead provides the opportunity for the forgiveness of sins (John 3:16-18). In Adam, we all face the penalty for our sin, in Jesus we can have hope for eternal life (Romans 5:1-19).
The stories of all these individuals tonight, here, right now continue. All of them different. But time rolls on.
The finale of our story is different. We know what happens. We have confidence that redemption draws closer each day. Paul exclaimed that to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).
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What’s your story as part of our story or His story?