I was thinking about how God works, and it made me think about a piece of furniture, created by a master craftsman. It is built to last, to be both useful and beautiful. But sometimes you see a piece of furniture that has seen better days, it is beaten up, scratched, and often put out on the curb to be taken to the rubbish tip.
At times you may see a piece of furniture that someone has decided to “patch up” to look okay and usable again. But they haven’t followed the full process involved in restoration and the table or cabinet is never quite as it could or should be.
The old furniture wasn’t sanded and scraped back enough; or was quickly painted over so you can still see the bumps and marks underneath.
You learn quickly that the most difficult part of restoring furniture or anything for that matter, is the stripping off of the old wax and paint etc. It takes effort and time to overcome the effects of years of use and abuse.
There are tools for the job: Sandpapers, power sanders, stains, wood glue, rags and cloths, brushes, a dust mask and gloves. Your chosen finish; whether it is French polish, Teak, Danish, Tung, or Linseed oil, varnish, or even paint.
If you are not committed to the restoration, you could easily decide that the process is too difficult, time consuming or just impossible.
I want to draw on the analogy of restoring furniture, because I believe God is the God of restoration. He longs to restore us to relationship with Him, to who He created mankind to be, to restore anything that has been broken or lost or stolen.
When you ask Jesus into your life He restores us completely. We are born again. We become a brand new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).
But our soul – our mind, emotions, and body must get a hold of what Jesus has done for us in our new born again spirits. God encourages us to keep allowing our souls to be restored.
Restoration is a process that has to be lived out, as we allow the master craftsman God himself, to work on and in us, both through the good and more challenging times of our lives.
David, the psalmist, declares,” He restores my soul’’ (Psalm 23:3).
The term restores indicates process. Only God knows what’s truly involved in restoring and renewing each individual’s heart and life.
There is story in the book of Ruth, (Ruth 1:1-22) about a women name Naomi. She changed her name to Mara meaning “bitter” because she felt like her life was over, meaningless and held only bitterness.
She had lost her husband, her two sons and saw herself as alone and destitute in a foreign land. She felt empty, lost and bitter with the way her life had turned out.
But God is the great restorer and comforter. He used a young woman named Ruth in Naomi’s life to bring restoration of her family line, property and to bring renewed joy. She became no longer Mara, (bitter), but Naomi meaning pleasantness, and someone who was full of renewed hope and joy.
We can often be challenged by the struggles of our life. But there are two things that anybody who may feel like Naomi can rely upon.
God is a restorer. As you go over your own thoughts, playing old re-runs from the scenes in your life, some things God will explain and others He will simply heal.
Restoration doesn’t necessarily mean everything being exactly as it was. Usually God restores things to be better, and He gives purpose to the years of question marks.
2. God nourishes. This may be a difficult for some of us to receive; that God wants to nourish and give to us. You may have always been the source of others’ strength, carrying their burdens. Or you’ve been let down, and hurt by others and you may find it difficult to receive from anyone including God.
One of the Hebrew names that express who God is and His character is “El-Shaddai” (Exodus 6:3). It means all sufficient one. The one who nourishes and supplies all we need.
If you take the time to read the Bible you’ll find it is full of people who had to be restored.
Look at the lives of Joseph, (Genesis chapters 37-50), David (2 Samuel 19), the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), Peter after denying Jesus (John 21), the woman who was healed with the issue of blood ((Luke 8:43-48), Lazarus ((John 11:38-44), and one of my favorites the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17).
The Bible is actually a book of restoration, because that is God’s heart.
As you read about God’s heart towards us in His word it will reveal that you too can be restored.
Over the next few days we are going to look at God’s process of restoration, and what part we play.
I encourage you to take some time, to stop running, pretending, or always being frantically busy so as to avoid what’s going on in the inside of you. Make a decision to put yourself in God’s hands and let Him begin to restore you.
Prayer: Lord I’m going to take some time with you to allow you into my heart and life. There are areas in me that I know, need your restoring hand and renewal. Help me to stop, trust and let you go to work. In Jesus name Amen.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:12)