Coming Full Circle. Restored. Personal Testimony
Often within the church we speak of ‘restoration.’ Restoration of a marriage, a ministry, and life. Over the course of the last few years, following my failed marriage, stepping down from full-time ministry, single parenting, all which resulted in walking in a very dark season. Those who knew me best would offer encouragement, “God will surely restore you.” Lovingly I would smile, giving a nod of agreement with a flippant, “Thanks.” Later in the privacy of my own thoughts, frustrated and somewhat angry, I battled the image of an old tattered, stained, thread bare chair sitting in the corner needing ‘restoration.’ I would imagine the stripping off and replacing of the upholstery, sanding down the wood and re-painting and straightening the frame. The finished product would be the resemblance of a chair prior to any wear or tear. No longer any scuff marks on the legs, or worn cloth on the seat. It looked new. But was it?
I had come to desire I didn’t want to be taken back to how I was before all the ‘wear & tear’ on my life. As God began to rub His word again, His love and acceptance washed over me. I was taken to the life of King David, he too just a simple person, not flashy or fancy. One who loved his God and loved God’s word. A man with a calling and destiny on his life. He too walked through some dark times, yet God referred to him as “… a man after Mine own heart.” (1 Sam. 13:14) Some would argue that this was said of David at the beginning, when the baton was being passed from Saul to David. It wasnt inclusive of all his failures and poor choices. However, let’s look to a man who was a scholar of his time, a man who was well versed in Jewish writings. A man full of revelation of Jesus. He knew of the ‘rest of the story.’ Hundreds of years later he said this of David. “He (God) raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” – Paul, Acts 13:22 He wouldn’t quote God if it weren’t true.
I love David’s honesty, throughout the Psalms you can hear his heart. One that has held comfort for me is Psalm 51. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.” (v1) “Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” (v. 10-12) Can you hear the urgency? The longing?
“Create in me a pure heart…” David understands this ‘create.’ He knows that what he wants in his heart can ONLY be placed there by his God. Create, ‘bara’ is the Hebrew verb used exclusively of God. Sovereignty bringing into existence what wasn’t and now is. (DeDe’s definition) It is creating out of nothing. Genesis 1 paints the most beautiful display of God’s creative work. “In the beginning, God created.” Moses goes on to explain the creation event listing each portion, following it with “And God saw that it was good“.
‘Bara’ does not work like that of a recipe, taking ingredients and placing them together to form something new, like that of a cake. It is new materials, new results. David knew he didn’t have within himself, the ingredients (if you will) of what it took to have a pure heart. THAT is what I wanted! I began to pray this verse, crying out “CREATE! O God! Bring stuff into my heart, good God stuff, YOUR stuff, give me qualities exclusively of YOU!”
Today, shockingly as I revisited this, reviewing all my notes, looking at all the verses (ALL) I have come to one conclusion: In this journey of being re-created, that He has indeed …restored me. Oh there definitely was some ripping off and replacing, and some strong ‘straightening’ going on. Am I new? Yes. I have a new revelation of Jesus. I was restored to original intent. NOT back to where I left off, He took me back to the very beginning. The original intent of my life is one of relationship. Relationship with my God who keeps His promises. I found also in this pursuit that restoration in the truest form is so closely linked to peace. Peace can be defined as “Entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship.” Shalôm describes the state of fulfillment which is the result of God’s presence.* (AMEN!) Over the course of the last few years, God’s unending love and faithfulness has created a marriage relationship for me with an amazing Godly man. Ministry is unfolding and life is warmly fabulous. I can honestly say, by the Holy Spirit I now have new materials, with new results! I can hear the faint whisper … “And God saw that it was good”.
Are we lacking peace, do we feel like the old tattered chair in the corner? Do we sense God’s presence? What do we need/want in our lives that we KNOW that it is only God that can call it into existence. May we continually come to Jesus “O create and place in me today __________ .”
He is faithful.
Coming full circle. Restored.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24
*Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament