Thursday, October 17, 2013

Restoration in Progress

My apologies in taking so long to write a new post, friends!   I have had to put the blog on hold for a few weeks.  Sometimes life and the ol’ day job get in the way of being able to share with you....Thank you so much for continuing to read and for tolerating the gap between posts.  I will continue to blog as often as possible, and continually pray my words are God breathed and bless you wherever you are....

res•to•ra•tion - the act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc.; the act of bringing back something that existed before; the act of returning something that was stolen or taken.

Restoration projects usually take place when the condition of something has deteriorated and needs some attention and/or repair.  That being said, when we think of restoration, generally we think of the term applying to an old home, a car, photographs, or piece of furniture.  Restoration, however, can also apply to other areas of our lives.  For instance, maybe you've experienced the restoration of a relationship; restoration of health; restoration of a job, position of leadership, or perhaps finances. Regardless of the type of restoration you may have encountered, you can probably empathize when I say restorations are a lot of work!  Generally, everybody loves the finished product, but the period in between start and finish – not so much!  Restorations can also be messy and untidy, and often requires the sacrifice of one’s comfort, territory, routine, and certainly time. 

In chapter two of the book of Joel, we find a story of restoration.  Joel is addressing the people of Judah who, for quite some time, had been experiencing abundance and blessing.  Food, livestock and crops were plentiful.  There was a copious amount of wine and oil.  Life in Judah was good. But, in their plenitude, the people of the nation had become conceited and self-serving.  They took the Lord and all His blessings for granted.   No longer concerned with the condition of their spiritual lives, they began worshiping idols.  So Joel, a prophet, steps in and warns the people to take notice. He commissions them to get their lives back on track with Christ, or sooner or later their sinful lifestyle would bring down the judgment of the Lord. They, however, ignored Joel’s warnings.  They were having the time of their lives and party pooper Joel was raining on their parade.  But eventually, just as Joel stated, a crisis occurred that stopped the nation of Judah right in its tracks. The Lord sent a terrible plague of locusts to swarm the land.  Fields, once overflowing with crops and livestock, were completely destroyed and left barren.  Everything was gone.  No longer were storehouses brimming with food, or were there cattle in the fields, wine on tap, and oil readily available. Gone.  All of it.  Every stinking last drop, crumb, and moo.  Gone.  The magnitude of the destruction and devastation was inconceivable.  

Now, the Lord could have easily shaken his head at Judah and said, “Look here you morons, didn't Joel tell you this was going to happen?  But, did you listen to him?  Noooo, of course you didn't. Well, I hope you enjoyed that wine and food while it lasted!  Because it is gone, gone, gone!  You got what you deserved!” But, God didn't do that.  Instead, He had compassion – compassion on the very people who had turned their backs on Him...compassion on the people who no longer claimed to need Him...compassion on people who didn't even worship Him!   And, in His unconditional compassion, He delivered the devastated nation a message and promise of hope.  A message and promise we can apply to our own lives….

“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten....” – Joel 2:25 (ESV)

The past three years have brought some serious blows to the spiritual health of my local body of Christ.  My heart grieves and aches for the church I once knew.  A church once abundant and overflowing....But, the locusts have come.  I can’t explain, in just a few sentences or paragraphs, all that has happened.  But, I can tell you that God is still good.  Families have come and gone.  Tithes and offerings are sparse.  But, the same Lord who sat on His throne when we had abundance is the same Lord who sits on His throne today.  He is a Lord who is alive and well and who just happens to specialize in restoration of all that has been consumed and lost.  He is a Savior who can take all our ugly messes, devastation, and destruction and turn it into something beautiful and useful.   Sometimes friends, we must experience the death and end of what we once knew in order to experience all that is new, fully restored and resurrected.  

“Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak,
and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow
where there had been none.”
– Isaiah 42:19 (VOICE)

Whether you are currently experiencing, have ever experienced, or have yet to experience a restoration – I pray you will rest in Christ’s promise of restoration.  All that has been consumed and lost...all that the locusts have eaten, He WILL restore.  

res•to•ra•tion - the act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc.; the act of bringing back something that existed before; the act of returning something that was stolen or taken.

 “Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!” -  Lamentations 5:21 (NLT)

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