MID SOUTH REHAB GATHER 1.25.23
To Bring Us to God
Team I am extremely thankful to get to come together with you all today! I was at our employee support center last week with 3 new DORs, and it was an amazing time to remember all of the exceptional things that we do as a company and as therapists to set ourselves apart with excellence and care for our patients. While there I was talking to a friend who told me he recently lost his best friend who was in his 30s to pneumonia. He told me he was reeling from the loss, and that the absence of his presence, the absence of being able to text him and have him text back, the absence of his true companionship is what he really missed the most. As I was driving back to Oxford, I was also told that there was a plane crash last week where 4 of the 5 people on board died and 3 of those 4 were elders at a local church. One was the head pastor, one was the associate pastor, and one was a man with 5 young children. It led me to ponder on the frailty and uncertainty of this life, and it lead me to want to lay out a clear message of truth and hope for us today.
In 1 Peter 3, Peter is just getting done imploring his brothers and sisters to suffer well. He reminds them of the example of suffering that Jesus Himself left for us in 1 Peter 2. That though there was no sin nor deceit found in Him, He Himself bore our sin in His body on the tree that we may die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds we have been healed. He also reminds them of this so that we can look at the example of His selfless love and righteousness in the face of those that may reject us with undeserved cruelty. But Peter does not only talk about suffering, in 1 Peter 3 He reminds us of a beautiful gift that Christ’s suffering brings us. 1 Peter 3:13-18 is a beautiful passage to enable us to focus on being fearless while we are zealous for doing good, and it ends with this ray of hope: 18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…” When I was reading this last night with my family, I was struck with the hope that this provides, and I hope those missing loved ones today will be comforted by this work of Grace by Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus died and rose again for many things. To name a few, He died to destroy death, He died to uphold His justice while making a way for Him to be simultaneously merciful, He died to fulfill His promises, and one beautiful reason why He died was to bring us to God. His death, burial, and resurrection allows for all of us who trust in Him to have one thing that our sinning barred us from before, intimacy with God Himself. True fellowship with the king of kings and Lord of Lords. A speaking, crying out to, hearing from, and walking with type of friendship with the alpha and omega, the one who spoke the stars, planets, and every detail of our universe into existence. In Genesis 3 it tells us a time before sin where Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day, but man’s sin brought an end to that fellowship. Is 59:2 says your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” But in Christ Jesus, those iniquities have been done away with. He removes the barrier between us in order to renew right relationship between us and Him. Once again He practically reconciles our relationship to Him as our loving Father, savior, brother, and friend
So, while indeed this world will be difficult, we will go through pain and trials in this life, I want us to know that we will NEVER have to walk through these alone. God Himself is with us and desirous to draw near to us if we would but draw near to him. Because of Christ Jesus’s completed work on the cross and the empty tomb, the reason for our exile has been done away with. Let us lean into His love, His comfort, His presence, His wisdom, and His strength when times are difficult. When we are missing and longing for those relationships we may have lost, let us lean into the one who drove Himself to the point of death to reconcile the world to Himself. Christ calls Himself the comforter, the healer, and the prince of peace. He is the wisest man who ever walked the face of the earth, He is the strongest man that ever walked the face of the earth, and He is the most compassionate man that ever walked the face of the earth. When times are tough and our hearts are aching for whatever trials, we are going through, we can turn to Him and He will be there for us. Hebrews 4 says 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. When you go through times of need, which we all will every day, I pray that we can remember that Christ Jesus died to bring us to God. He can sympathize with our pain because He has suffered too, and He can comfort you and give you peace and fulfillment while helping you stay away from sin and it’s destructive impact on our life while we walk in His revealed wisdom. He can give us mercy, grace, love, hope, and purpose in our trials, and He can be the true friend we all need in any and every circumstance. James 4:8 promises, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Let’s all draw near to Him now in prayer.