Restoration has been on my mind of late. My son and daughter-in-law lost their home to a fire this past spring, and it is only now, 4 months later, that restoration has begun. We have seen God’s hand in all the details of this crushing situation, but it still has not been easy. Maybe you have needed restoration in your life, too. Relationships, families, health, jobs- there are all kinds of things that are broken or lost that need restoration by God.
If you look up restoration in the dictionary, it describes restoration as returning to its original condition. I think of someone’s sight being restored or fixing up an old house or car to its former look.
Biblical Definition of Restoration
But God’s idea of restoration goes one step further. He’s not content with just going back to status quo. He delights in restoring and improving on the original.
Think of the story of Job, who lost his entire family and wealth. God restored twice over what he previously had and Job lived to see four generations of family.
The prodigal son never expected to be restored into his family; he planned to beg his father to bring him on as a hired hand. But the father instead restored him back into the family with a celebration, party, clothing, and jewelry.
God is a Restorer
The Bible shows us over and over that our God is a God of restoration. He has been in the business of restoration since Adam and Eve brought sin into the world. Not only can He restore, He promises it.
God’s Promises of Restoration
To the Jews coming out of captivity:
“My people will receive a double portion… and so, they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy in their hearts.” Isaiah 61:7 NIV.
Locusts had ruined years of crops and the farmers were desperate:
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten… You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you…” Joel 2:25,26 NKJV.
He promised the restoration of the nation of Israel:
Isn’t it comforting to know that when we go through trials and times of desperation, our unchanging God is the master of restoration?
Unfortunately, a lot of the brokenness, pain, heartache and need for restoration comes because of sin (ours and others.)
It can also come through carelessness, accidents, and forces of nature. Our physical world is under the curse of sin too- it will forever be a struggle against the elements and the environment. There were no earthquakes, hurricanes, or polluted rivers in Eden. Physical death did not exist there either.
But no matter the cause, it is always in God’s loving nature to restore.
Restoration Through Christ
The pinnacle of all restoration comes through God’s plan of salvation through Jesus. His sacrifice made a way for us to be restored into a right relationship with God.
Jesus explained it to the disciples as one of His last teachings before His betrayal and arrest:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV.
We are to expect trouble, loss, and pain in this world. No one is immune. But He also gives us the encouragement to live in peace through all of it. First through His atoning sacrifice on our behalf-
“Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
Secondly, by leaning on Him for our peace. We don’t have to “try harder” or paste a smile on our face to get through life’s trials. We can find peace in the storm and live daily within His love and comfort- no matter what circumstances are swirling around us.
Abundance Life in Christ
He also reminds us of the abundant nature of His restoration:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV.
The word Jesus used for “abundantly” meant “over and above”, “more than is necessary”, and “supreme.”¹
We find the keys to living abundantly through trials in this verse:
“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11 ESV
Are you needing restoration in your scorched place? He promises to guide you, satisfy your desire, and give you strength. God can bring restoration and refreshment when you come to Him with a sincere heart. (It is your heart that He desires most of all!)
Notice what He didn’t say- that this life would be abundant in years, health, or wealth. But He promises that the life we have can be abundant in satisfaction and contentment if we live in Him.
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God Restores My Soul
Those first 4 months of stalled work at my son’s house seemed like an eternity. When you lose almost all your life’s possessions and your home, there is so much to be restored. They left the burned-out shell of their home that night without even shoes on their feet. There are many months of waiting ahead and stages to go through before their restoration process is complete.
Maybe you have waited years for your restoration.
God gives us a beautiful word picture of how he restores in Psalm 23– possibly the most well-known Bible verse. It has comforted many who have gone through severe trials, health issues, and even death.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” (vv 1-3 NIV.)
We can’t restore our own soul, only God can. I find this so comforting- I don’t have to chase after worldly things to find restoration. God knows what we need and the perfect place to experience it.
When we put our lives in the care of the Good Shepherd, He restores our soul by leading us to abide in the goodness, mercy, and love of His green pastures and quiet waters.
Resting in His presence and reflecting on His love can bring a restored spirit to our lives each day. It can prepare us for problems and help us face them. God wants to restore us with an abundance of joy and hope, even if we walk through the “valley of death.” Fear and despair have no place in our lives because He is with us always.
God Restores Job
There are so many lessons to learn from Job’s story, but I want to touch on just a few.
It’s hard to comprehend why we endure suffering on earth except for Jesus’ words that we’ve already touched on: In this world we will have trouble….
We can’t always control the trouble that comes our way, but we can control our response to it.
Job’s response to the loss of his family and possessions was deep grief- a God-given emotion and response based on his love of family. It’s only normal to grieve our losses and express our emotions. It’s not a sign of lost faith or trust in God.
Job tells us, however, that he didn’t lose his faith in God-
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21 NIV.
He loved and trusted in God because of who He is, not what He had given him.
Job trusted God’s sovereignty over his life, even in his suffering.
When Job’s friends leave him discouraged and feeling overwhelmed, he questions God. God graciously answers Job in a lengthy discourse on who He is and how He works in our lives. (Job 38-41) It’s a beautiful series of questions we can never answer- God is truly magnificent and sovereign in all His ways.
God’s Word opened Job’s eyes to help him understand God’s power and plan for his life.
If your prayers for restoration have gone unanswered, can you still trust in God’s purposes and ways?
God Can Restore What is Broken
We can have many needs for restoration- relationships, health, finances, or even our own hearts.
Remind yourself that He knows you intimately and what you need. He is always good, deeply in love with you, and has a plan to heal and restore you. He will restore- in His timing, in His ways, and with His purpose in mind.
While you wait in faith:
•His Word is a powerful healer- it can soothe and encourage us. It’s where we find hope for the future and strength in our discouragement. Read through the stories of Jesus’s healings-the paralytic, the demon-possessed boy, the ten lepers, the bleeding woman, and the the blind beggar. A common thread throughout was faith in Him.
•If you feel you are too sinful or broken for restoration- read about King David (adulterer, murderer, betrayer), Joseph’s brothers (BTW- Joseph and his brothers waited 22 years for restoration!), or the restoration of Simon Peter after his denial of Jesus. The common thread was the confession of sin, which began the process of restoration in their lives.
•The power of prayer is an important part of restoration. God is never too tired or unavailable to hear our prayers or those offered on our behalf. The Holy Spirit even steps in when we can’t. (Romans 8:26) Gather up your burdens and problems, tell Him all about them, and then leave them at His feet. (I sometimes tend to snatch them back…)
He loves us like no other, so “cast all your anxiety on him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV.
The process of restoration can be long and exhausting, but we know God is always by our side to love and comfort us and bring hope.
God has frequently brought the following verse to mind throughout the trials of our family’s fire- and it is one Jesus quotes in Luke, claiming Himself as the Anointed One:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners… to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV.
Beauty from ashes…. Praise instead of despair…
As the new home rises bit by bit, it will be 99% brand new. Many upgrades and new improved layouts are now in the planning stage. Restoration… with abundance.
Let this verse give you hope, too. Do you see yourself in any of the circumstances described? God can restore it with abundance and bring beauty from your ashes. We can come out on the other side of our trials and sadness giving praise and thanksgiving to our Lord, who lives to restore.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos, AnnMarie Anderson, Canva