“When the thief takes, when our hope caves,
You build us back,
“When the earth shakes, when the world breaks,
You build us back”
-Jason Walker, Mark Stuart
Restore Us, O God
The older I get the more I realize how brief this life truly is. You don’t really think about it when you are younger because you think you have your whole life ahead of you, as though that is a lot of time. But as time creeps by, the reality of our mortality sinks in. And as that reality becomes clear, we need something to restore us to life.
Don’t worry, if the realization hasn’t caught up to you yet, then you just haven’t had your eyes opened yet. But here’s the truth: None of us get out of this thing alive.
In the past few months, we have seen lots of death. We have witnessed the death of well known celebrities. We have heard of the death of many in tragic terrorist acts. We have known the sting of pain and the loss of loved ones near and dear to us.
It seems that death is all around us. Time is ticking and it is telling us that we need hope for the next life if we are going to make it through this life. But what happens when your world is torn apart by the loss of a loved one? How do you make it through? What hope is there for those of us left behind after the shock wears off and the scars remain? Can we find what is necessary to restore our souls to life again?
One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from the prayer book of the Jews, the Psalms. In Psalms 27:13, David, Israel’s King and gifted songwriter writes, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
God Will Build You Back
Today, I want to offer a few ways in which God will restore the years that have been eaten away by pain, loss, suffering, and death. Perhaps this will give you hope today that there is a light at the end of this tunnel you are in… that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
- God will do a new thing. In the book of Isaiah, the people of Israel were in exile in a foreign land. In the middle of their suffering and their bondage, God reminded them of how He had been faithful in the past. He reminded them of the way He had delivered them from Egypt and the hand of the Pharoah and his gods. He reminded them of the hope He had given them in the past, and He spelled out the hope that He had for them in the future. Isaiah 43:19 is where God tells them, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Here’s my point: The same God who promised He would do something new in the lives of the Israelites is the same God we trust in. Though He made that promise to them, it gives us hope that this is a God who is not done creating something in our world today. There is a new thing that will spring up in our lives that God will do. It will be tied to His Kingdom, and it will be accomplished. Look up my friend,to the larger story surrounding you. The restoring arm of God is nearer than you think. He will do a new thing in your life as you find comfort in His Spirit and in His arms.
- God will be present in your pain. Beware of the temptation to think that just because you cannot see Him, He is not there. There is never a time when God is absent, there are only times of silence. Presence heals us, not words. One of the most awkward things that will happen to us when we are in the middle of our pain is that people will speak. Most are well meaning, but no amount of words will ever heal our pain. We need presence. We need time. We need healing. We need restoration. I don’t know of any renovation that only takes a day. Most restorations are a process. And the way that God builds us back is no different. Take time to grieve. Cry. Get angry. Express you heart to God. He is big enough to handle it. But also let Him calm your heart. Let people serve you. This is the way God makes His Kingdom tangible in the world and in your life. If you pray “Your Kingdom Come”…expect it. He will bring it to you. And He will be with you in your pain.
- God will heal your heart. The amazing thing about the human body is our ability to bounce back from an injury. A cut on your hand heals in a few days. A broken bone heals in a few months. A broken heart may take years to heal, but yes, God will heal your heart. He will orchestrate circumstances and people in your life to bring about and restore healing in your heart. It never feels like you’ll be right again, and truthfully, you won’t. There is a scar still there. You will never be the same. But let God build you back. He will do it beautifully and restoratively. That is just what He does.
- God will offer you community. In this day and age, it is difficult to find a community of people to grow with. We all have such individualistic lives. We are often too busy to make time to be with other people. The Church is an interesting thing. We find ourselves in a struggle at times to want to belong to an institution because, so often, the institution isn’t kind, isn’t heartfelt, and isn’t in touch with our needs as a family. Can I give you a mind-blowing truth? Institutions don’t create community, people do. All an institution can really do is create an environment where community can happen or not happen, depending on the vision, the values, and the methods of doing ministry. But in the end, it is people you will connect with, not an institution. The truth is that the church is the called out “people” of God, redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus, restored to hope of a life under His rule and reign, and renewed in relationship with God and each other like family. If that is not happening at the “church” you belong to…then I suggest you begin asking God to offer you true community. And He will. He will. The success of a church is not tied to the size of it’s congregation but the authenticity of it’s people and the lives that are changed as a result. Find a place where that is how success is defined, and you might just find the community you are looking for.
God is in the business of building broken lives back. He will renew your hopes, redeem your soul, and restore your life to you. This season of pain will end. Look for Him. He is there.
“Redeemer, redeem us.
Restorer, restore us.
Build us back.
Though the mountains be shaken,
The hills be removed,
Your unfailing love remains.
After all that’s been taken,
You build us back with precious stones.”