What is it that you’re truly longing for in life? Beyond the promotion or the vacation, the new house or the new car. What is underneath all the things you think you need? What are you genuinely longing for in your life? Most of us have experienced the loss of something we consider precious to us, whether it’s a relationship, health, a job or something else that we hold dear. Not only can God wipe away our past, but he can restore and replace what has been destroyed or lost. Do you believe that?
Where We Need To Be
We know we’re not where we need to be in relation to God and want to know how to follow Jesus. There’s a distance between us. It may be that you ran away in a full-out rebellious sprint, or it may be that you unintentionally drift away on a daily basis.
We know we’re not where we need to be in relation to ourselves. None of us grew up thinking, “I hope someday I’m overweight and too busy to do anything about it.” We also never grew up thinking, “I’d like to grow up to be a bitter, unforgiving person.” Neither did we catch ourselves thinking, “I want to live with a victim mentality so I can blame other people for my problems and never move forward.” And, I seriously doubt you ever told yourself, “Someday I want to be in a marriage that’s devoid of passion or even kindness.”
We know we’re not where we should be with God or with who we are, and yet what we desire is to be restored.
God created a perfect world. He created Adam and Eve and put them in a perfect garden paradise in a perfect world. Everything was, yeah, perfect. Until everything wasn’t.
Adam and Eve had a choice. They had the option to love God, live out his perfect will and keep everything, yeah, perfect.
But they made a different choice. Adam and Eve did the one thing God prohibited. It didn’t just mess one thing up. It messed up everything. Their seemingly isolated sin started to bleed out, and it touched, yeah, everything. Soon God’s perfect world became a sin-stained world. People, personalities, desires, relationships, pregnancy, births, children, families, communities, cities, even nature, all messed up.
To be restored is to be brought back to the right place. Think of a runaway teenager returning to the loving home of his family. He becomes restored.
To be restored is to be brought back to the right condition. Think of a classic car someone is lovingly fixing up, so it’s like new again. It becomes restored.
This desire, or need, to be restored is a theme all throughout the Bible. The Psalmists cry out, “How long, O Lord until you restore me?” (Psalm 6:3), “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you” (Psalm 51:12), “I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as you promised” (Psalm 119:107). The prophets pleaded with God, “Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the Lord my God” (Jeremiah 31:18), “Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again!” (Lamentations 5:21). The Apostles named it as the goal, “Your restoration is what we pray for” (2 Corinthians 13:9), and “Aim for restoration” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
Here’s the good news. Nix that. Here’s the great news: God is a God of restoration.
God promises to restore us. “I will restore them because of my compassion” (Zechariah 10:6) and “I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore” (Isaiah 57:18).
God can restore you. He can take what’s wrong in your life and make it right.
God can restore the world. He can take what’s wrong in the world and make it right.
God’s promise is even better. If God “just” promised to restore us, it would mean that he could help us make our lives what they always should have been. That’s great, but there’s still grief from everything we lost.
God Can Restore
Check out what God says in Joel 2:25, “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (N.K.J.). Locusts had invaded and ruined years of crops. The fields of the farmers were in seeming disrepair. God promises not only to return the land to its original condition but also to renew what got lost during the wasted years.
That’s what I’ve experienced.
My life was all messed up. I wasn’t what I should be, and I had ruined years of my life with anger towards my abusive father. My heart was bitter and seemingly beyond repair. God not only restored me, but he also renewed the years I lost from being stuck in unforgiveness. I broke out of the dysfunctionality of my past and into the freedom of God’s future for me. I began following Jesus daily.
Not only have I experienced restoration in my life, but I’ve also had a front-row seat to see God restore many other people. In 2010, I started a church in the heart of Las Vegas. Over the past seven years, I have witnessed pimps and drug addicts and atheists and prostitutes and gang members and Satanists and porn stars restored by God. As a metter of fact, I wrote a book, which comes out in January, called Restore, about how God restores messed up people.
If you’re longing to recover lost years, broken relationships, hurt feelings or distance with God, you need to know the God who restores. Equally important, you also need to understand how he restores.
Check out Vince’s new book, “Restore: Break Out Of Your Past and Into God’s Future.” to learn more about how God can restore you.
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