He who is seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone and the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
One thing Jim and I like to do is go out and about and find pieces of furniture or other items that we can re-purpose or restore. I have several items in my home that we have stumbled on while on such excursions that Jim has taken time to restore. The end result is we have pieces that aren’t perfect. Some of these pieces have markings that with all the sanding and rubbing one could do they will not come out. Jim and I call these markings/scratches character marks which only add to the beauty of the piece we have restored. Along with the character marks, we also have a new conversation piece in our home.
Not long ago, I was singing with our local hospital choir at a memorial service being held at our hospital for employees that have passed away within the past year. After the service was concluded, I was speaking with our choir director regarding all that I had gone through last year and how God led me to healing waters. “My soul/spirit has been restored” is what I told our director. Her response to me was not only “God is good” but she told me that this year is the year for restoration. The word restoration has echoed in my mind since that morning I sung with the hospital choir.
Since that moment of hearing that it is the year for restoration, I have begun hearing stories of healing and lives being restored. The healings have not just been physical healings but emotional and spiritual healings. There are people I have prayed for over time that have turned back to God and allowed to be their source of strength and hope.
Of recent, Jim and I had heard the most beautiful story of restoration. About a week ago we were on our way to the beach. Before getting to our destination, we decided we needed to stop at a Kmart for some snacks and other last-minute supplies. As we approached the check out lane with our items, I noticed that the clerks hands were shaking. I thought to myself; “I wonder what kind of disability does she have “ but the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear that it was not a disability.
Within me, God spoke and told me that she had overcome some sort of addiction but what kind I did not know until it was our turn to check out. As she began to check us out, this clerk asked where we were from and where we were going. We told her and then she began to tell us her story. She had lived in the area we were in at that moment for nine years. Jim asked her what brought her to where she was now. Her response was; “the law.”
This clerk had lived on the coast and had been an alcoholic which led her to be homeless and getting into trouble with the law. She was brought to the town where she currently resides and admitted into a rehab unit. Through this rehab program she began to find peace with God. This girl explained where she had been and how through the twelve-step program she learned that God was the source of her strength. She explained how she had tried to find strength in a bottle and got nowhere. The clerk went on to say that she is thankful to God everyday for all that he gives her and for bringing to where she is now. Now, not only is she nine years clean but she has a steady job, a place to live and is a sponsor to three women through AA.
She went on to share with us that the first thing she tells the ones she sponsors is that you need to surrender all to God and allow him to be the source of your strength. As Jim and I began to gather our bags, the clerk apologized if she took too much of our time by sharing her story. Jim’s response was; “you didn’t take any time away from us at all. He went on to tell her that her story of restoration was beautiful and we would pray for her.” It was in those few minutes of the check-out lane where Jim and I saw God at work in someone we did not even know. What a wonderful treasure we were given in those moments and one we will never forget.
If I gathered all those who read my posts together in one room and went around asked; “do you know someone who is in need of restoration?”. It is without a doubt each person would know of someone who is down in that pit at this moment trying to crawl out and is desperate for hope. These persons have looked to other things besides God for strength and it has gotten them nowhere.
The best thing we can do for those who are lost and feel as there is no hope is to persistently pray for them. By being persistent in prayer, we are placing the person and situation in God’s hands. From my own personal experience my prayer consist of asking God to place others in the person’s path that can lead them to healing.
Not only is prayer the best thing we can do for a person in need of restoration, but having non-judgemental ears and heart is also important. You see, the person in harm’s way already feels bad about themselves and what they are doing. What we have to do is lead by example. This example is having a Christ-like attitude when it comes to helping them. After all, Jesus not only healed the physical illnesses/disabilities but he He healed the spiritual as well. He did it in a non-judgemental fashion with saying as He healed them; tell the Good News and go and sin no more.”
Restoration may not come right away and this is where our faith comes into play. The pieces that Jim and I have purchased over the years and that have been restored did not happen over night. Some pieces took days, some took weeks and some are taking years to complete. It is in God’s time where restoration will take place.
When restoration does take place, you will see such inner beauty and joy beam through the eyes of a person that was once hurting. Yes, they will have scars but they are scares of experience. The scars of experience can be the light of hope in leading others to God’s strength, peace and kingdom.
When restoration does take place it is important for us again to be non-judgemental but be unconditional in our interactions with them. We need to give God the glory for the person who has changed their lives for the better. Just as the father of the prodigal son celebrated his son’s return, we also are to celebrate the person who has chosen to come back and be a part of God’s kingdom.
My prayer today is that if you know of someone who is needing hope and strength that only God can give that you will start by persistently praying for them. Then, love on them with a Christ-like heart and show them His grace through your actions toward them. And, just as the lyrics to the song goes; “don’t give up hope, some people change. Love finds a way, some people change.”