Have you ever thought about what the word Restoration really means? Earlier this year, I gave a speech that had four parts to it and it was the outline of the Bible. I felt it ran a big parallel to my life. It is a four-part outline that looks like this: Creation, the Fall, Redemption, Restoration. I have to give my friend Pastor Tanner a little credit here, as he planted the seed for me in a sermon.
I want to focus on Redemption another week, but today we are going to focus on Restoration. Why go out of order? Think of it as ordering dessert first! Seems I can always find a way to compare things with food! 😊
There are actually two definitions to Restoration; the first one is Webster’s:
-the act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc
-the act of bringing back something that existed before
-the act of returning something that was stolen or taken
When I first read the definition from the dictionary, I thought to myself “that’s exactly what I thought it meant.” I had looked it up as I prepared for that seminar earlier this year, and found a lot of ways I was being restored on the other side of this addiction thing.
I got excited because isn't this what I had been working for? For things to go back to the way they were? I thought that’s what I wanted...
If you think about it, isn't that what we always want when we are going through the hard stuff. I have thought many times in life, “I just want things back to the way they used to be.” Was that really what I wanted? I thought it was, but as I think it through, who I was before wasn't really the person I wanted to go back to.
There have been a few major life circumstances in my life, and when I was pretty down, I wished for things to go back to the way they used to be. I couldn't see what was happening at the moment as an opportunity for God to use me in some way. I mean, who does?
In the midst of pain from the loss of my brother, I was not that person declaring that God has a plan and I can’t wait to see how he grows me from this painful experience. I don’t think so. That Webster’s definition of Restoration made sense then though. I wanted things to back to the way they were in the moment. Where my heart didn't ache, and I could go through a day without carrying around the weight of grief on me.
Now, I look back (having had 23 years to reflect on this) and think yes, I would give anything to have my brother back and not have had our family go through that. Here’s what I don’t want back though, here is what I do not want to be restored in me: it was all about me!
I was in total control of my life, my family, my stuff, you name it! I was responsible for everything we had done in life thus far. Then, on that fateful day, my control was ripped away from me and I learned real quick that I was not in control and never had been. It took a while, but the day finally came, where I realized just that. It’s not up to me; God was the one in control. As much as I wanted to go back, God never intended for me to return to who I was.
Then I think about addiction, and how much I wanted to go back to drinking like a “normal” person when I was trying to quit abusing alcohol. Who was that girl? I don’t think she ever drank like a normal person. The addiction was always there, I just didn't realize it until I was in so deep I couldn't see what life looked like without it.
Now, let’s look at the Biblical meaning of Restoration.
It starts out the same as Webster’s, but there is an add on. The Bible says when something is restored it always grows, multiplies or improves so that it’s final condition is superior to its original state.
The Bible gives a great example of this in the book of Job as well.
The list of what this guy went through is endless. The Bible describes him as honest inside and out, a man of his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil with a passion. When Satan accuses God of Job being God’s pet and says to God “his loyalty to you comes only because he has it so good.” Poor Job! Right there is where God said game on, Satan! "You can test him, but do not kill him."
In one day, Job lost his sons, daughters, and all of his material possessions; and that was only the first day! He went on to be personally afflicted with horrible, painful boils that the Bible indicates lasted for months. To top it all off, his wife gave up hope and told him to curse God and die! The poor guy had good friends though, who came to mourn with him and comfort him.
Then, these same friends spent a lot of time trying to convince Job to “repent from his wrongdoing against God” because surely he had done something very sinful. In the end, he ended up interceding for his friends. Talk about a good friend! When all was said and done, God restored Job’s fortune and doubled it! God blessed Job’s later life even more than his earlier life.
We can learn a lesson from Job: that in all this pain and suffering he did not sin, blame God, or curse God. How often have we been mad at God for pain and suffering?
I hear it regularly. When someone is going through some hard stuff, they say they are “mad at God right now.” Actually been there, done that. It didn't help at all to be mad at God.
In fact, if anything I felt more alone than ever.
The biggest lesson here is how the Bible defines restoration and how Job was restored. That you will be brought to a whole new level of blessing. Job is a great example of one of many that God has done this for. At least that's the way I look at it.
This verse is a favorite of mine. It comes to mind so often, as I experience Restoration in my new life of sobriety.
All of those things described in that verse have happened to me in one way, shape, or form in sobriety. I cannot describe to you how much joy I feel when I read that. Not only that, but it’s also going to keep multiplying! I can’t even imagine. Alcohol numbed the pain, but also the joy in my life.
I have said often that in this new way of living, I feel every negative emotion deeply. But the joy, OH THE JOY, I feel now. It is nothing short of amazing and miraculous! I had no idea life could feel this way.
In AA, they call it a “pink cloud” and say this happens temporarily in early sobriety. It is known as the road beyond the miracle. I kind of heard it in AA as almost a negative thing. Like, that’s great you are all high on life right now, but this too shall pass. Of course, it does!
We all have days there is no pink cloud in sight. Those are the days you need to stay close to God. When I have a bad day, I often think to myself that I have to survive today so I can thrive tomorrow. It gives me some hope for tomorrow and in the perspective that “this too shall pass.”
I will always and forever be sorry that I followed the road that alcohol brought me to.
Thankfully, it wasn't a dead end. It was just a roadblock that had to happen while construction was underway.
I am being restored. So are you. We are all a work in progress. I would love to hear how God is restoring you in your life. Wherever you were, whatever you have done, God has a great plan to restore you. In the meantime, keep going and don’t mind the construction. It's unavoidable but completely necessary for repairs.
Peace & Blessings on your weekend,