Some people look for vintage vehicles and enjoy the challenge and the delight of restoring them. Why do they spend so much time and energy finding them, investing in them and repairing them? The reason is simple. These vehicles, when restored, have incredible value.
We only restore what we value. So, what does God value. People! That is why he goes about restoring our lives from the brokenness that so many of us find ourselves in.
We need to value God’s forgiving, restoring nature and continue to be thankful. God’s grace is not something to be taken for granted or despised by abusing it but rather allow it to motivate us to serve him more faithfully and obediently.
We need to remember God is in the restoration business.
God is in the restoration business because his very nature is filled with compassion. We don’t deserve or earn God’s favour. Jesus tells us that when we see him, we see what God is like. One of the amazing incidents in the life of Jesus is when he discovers the death of his cousin, John, who was known as the Baptist. Jesus, now filled with grief, goes seeking a solitary place to reflect and grieve. Yet we immediately read that Jesus is confronted with a large crowd filled with needs that only he can meet (cf. Matthew 14:14), and Jesus begins both to teach and heal the sick because he is filled with compassion. It is from this context that we read of Jesus feeding the multitude (cf. Matthew 14:15-21).
Jesus was motivated by compassion. Jesus is God in the flesh. God’s heart towards us is one of compassion. He desires to bless us, not hurt us. Sin always brings about separation, exile, captivity, brokenness, and loss. The Bible is filled with stories of man’s failure and God’s forgiveness. It is a story of restoration.
Recently in my opening message for 2020, I speak of this idea of God’s restoration work in the life of Judah found in 1 Chronicles (to hear the full message go to https://www.livingstones.ab.ca/missed-a-sunday-hear-our-messages/?sapurl=Lys4NGEyL2xiL21pLytnOWNrejRuP2JyYW5kaW5nPXRydWUmZW1iZWQ9dHJ1ZQ== and listen to the podcast entitled ‘God at the Center.’
Restoration. Did they desire this? No! A thousand times no! But God, who is rich in mercy, brought about the return of the captives back to the land. It started with the rise of the Persian Empire. God placed it on the heart of Cyrus to repatriate and return the Jewish captives to their homeland and allow them to restore their form of worship. The story of the resettlement into the land and the challenges and victories that follow are deeply encouraging. But this isn’t just a national story; restoration is also a personal story.
A New Testament example of a person whom God restored was Peter. He denied Jesus three times on the same day, even though he was forewarned. It’s a classic story of being overwhelmed by the challenging obstacle of personal unfaithfulness.
Yet, the story continues…Jesus, after His resurrection, calls for a meeting with his disciples and mentions Peter by name. While on the sea of Galilee, Jesus challenges Peter’s commitment. What had brought Peter down? Pride. He felt that if all would forsake the Lord, he wouldn’t. Now Jesus asks, “…Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon [his name before meeting Jesus] son of John do you truly love me more than these? (cf. John 21:15)”
Who are the ‘these’ that Jesus is talking about? It’s the others that Peter thought he was better than. How unwise we are when we measure ourselves with each other. What we see is that Peter’s evaluation of himself based on others disappears from his vocabulary.
Let me ask a question. How many of us would have chosen Peter to be the spokesperson at Pentecost? How many would have restored Peter to ministry after failing Jesus less than two months earlier? Jesus knew that Peter was a broken man. One of the keys to real effectiveness in ministry is brokenness. Peter wasn’t the same man after his restoration. Brokenness led to restoration and, ultimately, to transformation. Peter became a humbler, wiser and far more empowered person. God is interested in restoring the wounded places of failure in our lives for us to become more of what God originally intended for us when he designed us.
Image sourced from pawel_kozera @Pixabay.