From devastation to restoration

Published 8:36 am Friday, September 6, 2019

I recently had the opportunity to preach in a revival at a nearby Correctional Facility in North Carolina. The men that were incarcerated there had come to a point of devastation in their life and was in desperate need of a “restoration.” We went to share the message that the mighty God that we serve can “restore” us from our old self to a “new creation” in Christ Jesus. From “Devastation to Restoration” was the name of the revival that we held. With that title no other chapter in the Bible comes to mind more than Psalms 23.
Psalms 23: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
One of the most quoted scripture of all time Psalms 23 verse 3 says “He restoreth my soul.” Throughout the Bible when God restored things he always put it back in better condition than what he started with. When we become Christians we don’t need to be brought back to our former condition. We need a transformation that will bring us to a place in our life where we are better than we once were. If God just restored us back to our original state, then we would end up right back where we started. We as Christians need a “complete restoration.”
Just a couple years ago we completed a restoration on a 1969 Camaro that belonged to my dad while I was in high school. We found the car after a 20-year separation and purchased the car back into the family. This time in hopes that it would never leave the family again. At first glance of the old Camaro it appeared to be in pretty decent shape. However, once we started to work on it we found it was eat up with rust and in need of some major repairs. We knew that we couldn’t just start adding parts and painting the car before we got rid of the rust and cancer that had taken a toll on the old car. If we slapped new parts on it without getting rid of the old it would surely come out sooner or later. The rust would return or the paint would eventually reveal the poor restoration. So, we began to get rid of the rust on the old car. This is exactly what we have to do in our Christian walk. We can slap on a suit and learn some scripture, But, if we don’t get rid of the “old rust” in our life it will show up a little later on in our Christian walk. So, just like the old car, we had to identify the things in our life that we need to get rid of so Christ can do a “complete restoration” on our life. That’s our first step.
The next step is the probably the longest, toughest, and most aggravating part. We began the tiring work of cutting out the old rust and removing all the junk. It took many hours and many long nights and there were times when it didn’t seem that the risk would be worth the reward. Then came a point when we had roughly gotten through half of the restoration of the Camaro, I remember just wanting to sell it and get rid of it. I had put tons of time and effort into this car and now it looked worse than the day we brought it back home. But, we kept on working on the old car. Eventually throughout the rebuilding process it finally started to take some shape and looking better. Then, that began to spark a fire that I needed to carry me the rest of the way through the rebuild. I was finally seeing the fruits of my labor. Then came the day that I saw it all come together. All the hours, time and money spent on this project, it was finally restored. That day, my car didn’t look like the day it rolled off the assembly line. The car I saw was the most beautiful restoration and the nicest car I had ever seen in my life. To me this car was way better than any other factory built car.
The final step of this restoration was the maintenance that I needed to do so the car didn’t get back into the shape it was when we found it after 20 years. Just like when Christ restores us and makes us a better person than we ever were, we want to maintain that and never have to go through that complete restoration again. The maintenance is probably the most important part of the restoration. Otherwise it wasn’t worth all the time and the effort that I spent on that old Camaro. The maintenance included regular checkups from a professional, waxing and cleaning to protect the paint and body work, and taking it for a spin as often as I could for everything to stay running properly. We also have to keep it clean and nice on the outside and neat and clean on the inside, much like our Christian walk. We need some regular checkups, we need to put on our “wax” or the “Full Armour of God” from the elements that come against us and we need to take our faith on a regular test drive so it doesn’t just sit around and fall back in the same shape that it was. The more that we follow the maintenance steps after the restoration is complete, the less we will experience ”breakdowns” in our life.
So, once God brings you from your devastation to restoration, remember all the hard work and time spent getting rid of all the junk in your life. Remember what your life looked like before God’s restoration. Remember the beautiful restoration God completed. Then most importantly maintain that relationship with God and don’t just let it sit around in a garage under a cover, but get it out and show off the restoration that God did in your life. You will encourage someone along in their process from “devastation to restoration.”
Thank you and God Bless!!!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, David Odom.)

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