Do you ever dream about the way things were back then? You know, when you were carefree, and things were simple? Maybe it’s the good old days of summer as a kid, or high school glory days, or the newfound freedom that comes with college?
For me, it was the time before my little brother was killed in a car accident, now more than 25 years ago.
It’s hard to see things from God’s vantage point sometimes, but I realize now that God’s plan for Operation Restore Sherry was not to bring me back to the way I was before. Thank goodness for that!
But before I take everything off the board of who I used to be, I can see there are some things that He has restored in me that were good. He just didn’t restore the things that didn’t glorify him. He has molded me more into the person I was created to be – a better Sherry. Not only have I gotten back my appreciation for family, creation, physical achievements, love of books, and the time I spend writing, but more importantly, He has brought me to a place of trusting Him and having the faith He intended for me to hang onto all along.
This scripture says it all.
On the other side of addiction, I have come out with so much more than I started with. This makes sense when you think of the Bible’s definition of the word ‘restoration.’ When something is restored, it always grows, always multiplies, or improves so that its final condition is superior to the original state. Isn’t that so good? So hopeful? If you’re going through a rough patch, just know that you could be coming out much better off than you would have been without the struggle! Not only does God repair you, but the blessings are multiplied.
To help you understand what I mean, I’ll give you an example from the Bible.
Let’s talk about Job.
Job was an honest man, inside and out, a man of his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil with a passion. Satan accuses him before God, and says something like, “his loyalty to you comes only because he has it so good.”
Then surprisingly, God says, “Game on, Satan.” (that’s my paraphrase.) “You can test him, but don’t kill him.”
I have to admit, what Job goes through is rough. ALL of his children die. He loses all his material possessions. He gets afflicted with horrible boils and even his wife tells him to ‘curse God and die.’ His friends accuse him of sin and tell him to repent.
But that’s not the end of the story.
The Message Bible says it like this:
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortune and gave him twice as much as he had before.”
Twice as much! It goes on to say that he lived another 140 years! Long enough to see his children and grandchildren – four generations of them. Then he died an old man – and full of life. Now if that isn’t being restored, I don’t know what is.
Job refused to curse God and die. At some point, he says, “I know that my Redeemer lives,” even in the midst of all the struggle. Can you imagine having the faith that Job had when you are going through hard stuff? Can you imagine standing quietly on the sidelines, trusting and believing that God has your back and will see you through and things will be even better on the other side?
Why, God Why?
As for me, I know in my hardest moments, I just felt like all I could say was “Why God? Why?” over and over. But I was too angry to stop and listen to His answer.
Then I decided to get sober according to God’s plan. There is a verse (Jeremiah 29:11) that starts with, “for I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to fail…” That alone was sometimes enough to keep me sober one more day.
Slowly, I began to change. I couldn’t see it at first, but looking back I can see that God was doing a work in me. The person I was before Steve was killed was pretty shallow. Life was all about me, and I wasn’t giving God any credit for all these blessings in my life. I was in total control of my life, my family, and my stuff. You name it, I was responsible. Then on that fateful day, my control was ripped away from me, and I learned real fast that I was not in control – and never had been. It took a while, but I eventually accepted the fact that God was in control, not me.
As much as I wanted to go back to the way things were, God never intended that for me. He wanted me to grow in the pit of grief. And I did, even though it was a long, slow process.
That lesson on who’s in control has stayed with me and is a good reminder to me when it feels like things are out of control. They ARE out of MY control, but not God’s, ever. He’s got this. He’s got the whole world in His hands.
Job’s story and my story may seem a bit extreme. But yours doesn’t have to be. God works in extreme circumstances, and He works through little changes. He reminds us through all the stories that He can do the impossible. And that He loves us so much. Too much to leave us the way we were.
“I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again.” – Jeremiah 31:3-5
Praying for your restoration today!