Restore

12:59 PMHeather

I feel so compelled that someone needs to hear what I have to write today that I will not be deterred.  Usually, at this point in the day, with the task list I have ahead of me, I'd simply take a rest day from blogging.

But I cannot. 

I just can't do it.  Because my heart is stirred and I have absolutely no doubt that what is burning within me is what someone needs today.

Here I sit, in my little world, with those I know and love.  And those I barely know.  And those whose specific stories I don't know, but whose situation rings of familiarity.  

What I see in my mind's eye is field after field after field of crops. That have been ravished.  Ravished by the plagues of locust that seek to devour any potential harvest.  Locusts of broken dreams, disappointments, hurts, wounds, betrayals, loss, accusations, and just plain repeated negativity and frustrations.  These locusts are a force to be reckoned with for all in their path.

And they have ravished you.  They have eaten your hope, stolen your joy, devoured your dreams, and are nearly killing your spirit. You are laid low.  You are laid bear.  You are bleeding out and taking the next tiny little step forward feels incomprehensible.  You are exhausted and have nothing left to give.  And the damage left by these locusts now feels as though it is being swarmed by vultures.

Perhaps this sounds overly dramatic to some.

But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I cannot paint a word picture eloquent or detailed enough to depict what some are enduring.  

Because it is dramatic.  It is tragic.  And the broken pieces of your life lay scattered across the floor.

I have something to say to you.  I have a word to proclaim.  It has been rolling through my mind all day, and I even did that crazy praying-this-word-out-loud as I made the bed and tidied the house this morning.

Here's the word.


Restore.

1. to bring back into existence, use, or the like; restablish; to restore order

2. to bring back to a former, original, or normal conditionn, as a building, statue, or painting

3. to bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor

4. to put back to a former place, or to a former position, rank, etc; to restore the king to his throne

5. to give back; make return or restitution of (anything taken away or lost)

6. to reproduce or reconstruct (an ancient building, extinct animal, etc) in the original state 
                                                        --from Webster's Dictionary app

I want to say it again.  Because you need to hear it.  You need this right now. 

Restore.

Like the residents in the aftermath of a massive natural disaster, who boldly proclaim, "We will rebuild!"

You need to know that everything that has been devastated...
everything that has been destroyed...everything that has been stolen.

It will be reconstructed.  It will be brought back to a state of health, vigor and soundness.

Because that is who our God is.  He is a God who restores the broken messes. No matter how long they have been devastated or how severe the damage. 

God is not a God who leaves us in our pits of despair.  He does not leave the broken walls or ancient ruins and move somewhere else. Nothing is "unfixable" to him.  And if you feel as though he has been blind to your plight and deaf to your prayers, I say with absolute conviction that comes from beyond me.

He is not blind.  He is not deaf.  

He is faithful.

When the perfection of the garden of Eden was shattered and lost forever, God made a way.  He set in a motion a plan for all mankind to be restored to a state of eternal perfection with him.

So the Lord God said to the serpent, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!...he [Jesus] will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Genesis 3:14-15

From the first Adam who tried to cover his shame and mistakes with fig leaves, God made a better way.  He clothed them in animal skins. And so began the long history that would lead to the cross, where He sent Jesus so that we could be clothed in righteousness and all our shame could be erased.

He covers our shame.  He cares for our needs.  He hears us.  And he responds.

This broken mess of a world that we live in tends to chews us up and spit us out.

And God says, I will restore.

God delivered the Israelites from captivity in Egypt.  In a rather dramatic fashion.  He provided for their every need, even as they wandered long and doubted his restoration and promises.

For forty years, they were wondering if God heard their cries.  

The Promised Land lay just ahead.  The walls of Jericho would be crumbled.  And God would not just deliver his people, but he would free them.  Former captives made free.  Previously starving and struggling to survive.  Living it up in the land of milk and honey.

God took his people from a place of torture and hopelessness and he moved them to a land of plenty.

Let's look at Nehemiah.  The cupbearer to King Artaxerxes while the Jewish remnant were exiled and their precious Jerusalem lay in shambles.

The brothers of Nehemiah reported to him:

They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
Nehemiah 1:3

You may be in great trouble and disgrace.  Your walls are broken down and your gates have been burned with fire.

Take heart.

As surely as God ordained every detail and appointed every step of the way, the walls will be restored.  The walls will be rebuild. 

Hear Nehemiah's battle cry to those rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, which seemed an impossible task, while under the threat of attack.

Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes!
Nehemiah 4:14

And so, in the power of Jesus Christ who conquered sin and death, I say to you.

Do not be afraid of that which is attacking you.  Remember the Lord of the Universe.  Who is great and awesome!

Remember the Almighty God who is the restorer of broken walls and the rebuilder of ancient ruins (Isaiah 61).  

You may not see it now.  It may seem impossible.  But I am declaring this for you.

"So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in 52 days.  When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God."
Nehemiah 6:15-16

There in your rubble, I am telling you.

He will help.  He will restore.  He will rebuild.

He is the God who makes a name for himself, which remains to this day (Nehemiah 9:10).

You have been hit time and again, like Job.  You are mourning and suffering.

And I want to remind you.  

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
Job 42:10

I'm not preaching a prosperity gospel here.  I'm not saying to hold on because God is going to make you rich or give you material posessions.  I am saying that all that has been broken and lost will be mended, healed and restored with Jesus.  Forever and ever.  I'm saying all that is wrong will be made right.

I'm saying that your current state is not indicative of your future.

I'm saying that you can hang your hat and cast your cares on a God who takes the clay and shapes it on the potter's wheel.  

The God whose love story to you, woven throughout every person in the Bible, is a story of restoration.

He is the author and perfector of our faith.  And he intends for restoration to be the anthem.

He intends to wipe your tears and look you in the face, there in your mess and devastation...and he says, "I will rebuild.  I will not leave you broken.  I will not leave you alone.  I will not leave you in shambles and ruin.  I am the God who restores."

Hear the whisper of hope in that statement.  Let it pick up steam as you pray and plead and ask for that restoration.  Let it ring louder and louder throughout the rubble.  

Let it encourage your heart, there where you are.  

He is the Master builder.  And he is the Master Rebuilder.  

His love song over you today can be summed up in one word.

Restore.

Because that is indeed what he will do.

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