March 6, 2016 Text: Isaiah 12:1-6
Dear Friends in Christ,
Are you drained? I don’t mean tired. I mean drained, down to the bone, to the very core of your existence.
Are you drained from keeping up with the kid’s activities, the house, and the job? Are you drained from the silliness of political correctness and the judicial decisions that come from around our nation? Are you drained from the 24-hour news cycle and the same political faces popping up over and over again? Are you drained from living in a state where most everyone sees a problem but nobody is willing to do anything about it? Are you simply drained from living day-to-day around other sinful people?
“ARE YOU DRAINED?”
This life can certainly drain our energy and therefore our joy. A plant cannot survive without water; it will die eventually. Even desert plants can’t go more than half a decade without some water. Ever feel like that leafy plant that droops because of a lack of water?
Or think of what you have in your pocket or purse or near your person right now – the cell phone. The battery in that thing does not last forever. It needs to be plugged in and charged. If not it drains away and you lose all ability to function!
Life estranged from God through sin is draining. Life is a series of relationships and at some point they all need reconciliation or the relationship withers and dies. Children need reconciliation with a parent over a foolish mistake in their youth. Parents need reconciliation with their children after some abuse of parental authority. Spouses need reconciliation on an ongoing basis. Friends have arguments and need to be brought back together. Co-workers have a spat and they need to come back together in order to function. These situations as we live them can be very draining. If there is no reconciliation there can be resentment and sometimes the relationship does not survive.
Any meaningful relationship you have in life is the result of reconciliation. A relationship that falls apart at the first need of forgiveness hasn’t had enough time to become meaningful. Friends who have overcome an obstacle have a stronger bond than casual acquaintances who never faced struggles. There is joy in relationships that pass the test of time, but at some point they probably need reconciliation.
Without a parent, without friends, these can take the joy out of life and cause of us to drain out. We need meaningful relationships.
The key relationship we need is to God. This is the reason for our existence in the first place. Sin has disconnected us from Him. Adam and Eve had that perfect communion with God until the fall into sin. Since then all relationships can become fractured. Without help from our Lord we find ourselves standing on the outside of a relationship with our Creator. As a plant needs water and a phone needs to be charged or they will die, humans without God will eventually die. That overwhelming sense that things are not right in the world is a recognition that we’ve been disconnected from our life-source and are feeling ourselves slowly wither and die.
For good reason as Isaiah says in our text. The Lord was angry with me, but his anger has turned away. Isaiah knows reconciliation and he knows why. He is talking about “that day” when the Lord will send Immanuel, God coming to be with us when we were parted from Him. He is the Prince of Peace, the branch from the root of Jesse who restores the original peace.
That’s Jesus, God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself by His cross. Jesus came and died so that we might have abundant life. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We draw life from Him. Because we have been reconciled to God by the death of Jesus, we now share in His life. It is like the plant that is freshly watered or a phone plugged into the charger. As with the prodigal son, reconciliation with God is a cause for joy and celebration.
As we have been reconciled we can then live in reconciliation with others. It is a life of thanksgiving – think of a relationship saved through forgiveness. It is a life of trust – knowing that because of our faith a relationship will not end because of a problem. It is a life of joy and proclamation and praise – thank God for this wonderful gift when you are feeling drained.
In Christ we are restored to a right relationship with God and those around us. Shout and sing for joy, O inhabitants of Good Shepherd, for you are right with God. Rejoice in the abundance of your life, for the Lord God is your strength and your song, and He has become your salvation.