When God Restores From What He Did Not Do

God restoresGod Specializes in Impossibilities

It is true that God specializes in doing the impossible. He can do anything He chooses. It’s also true that we are creatures of choice – and He does not coerce our allegience, cooperation, or obedience. This post is a follow-up of last week’s post: When God does the Impossible. To read it, click here.

There are times we suffer because of choices others make. Children suffer from broken homes, spouses suffer from infidelity, families suffer from betrayal or  broken relationships, co-workers and friends suffer from strained relationships and unmet expectations, and all the world’s a broken mess – except for God. He could swoop in and right all the wrongs, making us robuts instead of creatures of choice. He doesn’t.

Instead, He comes into our brokenness, and He restores. While He could force those who have hurt us to right their ways and confess their wrongs, He doesn’t. He does, however, bring healing as He restores.

Scripture is full of examples where God came in and made possible what was impossible. It is also full of examples where God restores and binds up the broken

God Restores – stories in scripture

→ David lost fellowship with God because of his sin: adultery, murder, and lying. In the years that followed, his family was marked by bloodshed. In many ways, David’s family was a mess because of his lack of parenting and his sins. Because David repented, his relationshp with God was re-established. After all the things David did, he is called “a man after God’s own heart.” If that isn’t restoration, I don’t know what is.

→Paul prayed three times for the thorn in his flesh to be removed. We don’t know for certain what that thorn was. We do know that it bothered Paul so much that he asked for it to be removed from him, not once, not twice, but three times. Paul told other believers that this was when God showed up, providing grace enough for this thorn. That is restoration, because grace restores our relationship with God and makes it possible for us to continue in life when life seems unbearable. God restores.

God restores→ Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. He begged God to remove this cup from Him. God was capable of removing that cup, but He didn’t. The sweat on Jesus’ brow was like drops of blood falling on the ground, but He stayed there in the garden. If He wanted to be faithful to God, He had no other choice because God did not provide another way. Even so, God provided what seemed impossible. He sent an angel to minister to Jesus –  as He continued on to the cross. Because Jesus Christ became our sin, God turned His back on His son. Ah, but Resurrection morning came. Father and Son were reunited, because God restores.

God restoresGod restores – stories from now

→ Years ago, I struggled with forgiving someone who had wounded me deeply. Night after night, I woke up with my stomach churning, re-living painful moments. In a moment of despair, I shared my anguish with a friend. “I want to forgive, but I keep reliving what happened,” I said. “I can’t sleep at night and wake up so tired in the morning.”

A few weeks later, my friend asked me how I was doing. “You know,” I told him, “I’ve been sleeping all night long. I still remember the pain, but I don’t ache remembering anymore.”

That is when my friend said, “Do you want to know why?! I asked God to wake me up to pray for you, and to let you sleep. This was my signal to pray for you. During those first nights, I hardly slept, so I just kept praying for you: that you would be able to forgive, and that the pain would go away. When I quit waking up at night, I knew it was getting better for you.”

Sometimes through the prayers of others, God restores. Yes, the memory of anguish remains, but the pain is gone. That is because even when an impossible situation does not change, our hearts can change – because God restores our hearts.

→ Many years ago, my friend was angry from the grief of infidelity and a broken marriage. Her hopes for restoration were dashed, and she was a single mom fighting for custody of her children. The marriage was over, but there was no funeral. Her face told everyone she was hurting and angry.  Her mood, demeanor, and hostility pushed others away. We began moving in different circles and I didn’t see her for some time. One evening a few years later, we happened to be at the same event. I could not believe the difference! Her face glowed with peace and a joy that was missing for years.

I asked her, “What happened?! You’re so different now.”

She replied, “I had an encounter with Jesus. He restored my soul.”

She was still a single mom. Her husband had another wife. Yet, she was living in victory because she became in tune with God and gave Him her burden. He restored her soul. When God doesn’t force a former spouse to come back to the one he vowed to be faithful to until death parts, God still provides. God restores.

God Restores Today

Today, many of us deal with broken hearts and strained relationships. God doesn’t come in and do a miracle, making everything right. He does, however, bring restoration one day, one moment at a time. While we often cannot change our circumstances, we can govern our response. When we are faithful in doing the right thing even when we don’t feel like it, when it is hard, or when there seems to be no end of the tunnel, God will move behind the scenes. He will put broken pieces together and make them whole again. A changed design means God restores when hopes are dashed. He still brings beauty for ashes, gladness in place of mourning, and a garment of praise for the garment of despair.

How about it, friend? What relationships do you wish were different? What heartache are you living with today? Are you bearing the consequences of choices of others?

Know that God still does the impossible! When it seems impossible to forgive or to go on, God can do the impossible in you. He can give you grace to deal with the thorns and your heartache. More importantly, He can bring healing from heartache. He can bring delight in a new day, because He is God. All He asks is that we cooperate with Him and allow Him to do what He does well. God restores.

Sin brings separation from God and from others. Sin brings division and pain. We don’t have to stay in that separation, division, and pain. God can do the impossible in our hearts. All we need to do is ask – and cooperate, every day, with Him.

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