Many wise folks have warned that time goes by faster with each passing year. Now that I am increasingly approaching the realm of aged wisdom, I can wholeheartedly agree with their sentiments. Time on earth is finite and we only have so much of it to accomplish our goals, to grow in our faith, to forgive and seek forgiveness, and to restore our broken places.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12, ESV)
My friend sent me a meme which said, “Instead of kissing someone at midnight, let’s all collectively scream.” Suffice it to say… I connected with the idea. This past year was full of good times, but also many challenges. It seems fitting to say goodbye with a primal scream and then start the new year with smiles, laughter, and much prayer.
As I consider the challenges of the past few years, the ones we each faced personally and the ones we went through together, I am excited about our theme for 2023 which is: restoration. Life is messy; relationships go through rough patches; hearts ache; but, we serve a God who restores.
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25, ESV)
What a comfort it is to know restoration is possible; and, ultimate healing and eternity with Christ is available to those who repent and put their trust in Christ.
It is the Year of Restoration
In the coming year, we will explore the theme of restoration – what it means, where it is needed, how to achieve it – and, hopefully, end the year with restored relationships, confidence, health, goals, and faith.
What needs restoration in your life? Family relationships? Friendships? Your dating relationship or marriage? Your relationship with Christ? Your dreams? Your home? Your health? Later today, I plan to do a little brainstorming and I hope you will join me. Today is not about creating a game plan, but simply pondering and jotting down the areas of my life which need restoration. It could be I only come up with three or four, but once I start listing I expect I will easily find fifteen or more places in my life which need some measure of rebuilding and restoring: people I need to forgive (who maybe I did not realize I needed to forgive); dreams I need to reevaluate and revisit; and even areas of physical, mental, and emotional health which need healing.
Restoration is a beautiful word and the idea of being restored to wholeness fills my heart with a lot of peace. However, we also must consider the process of restoration. Consider the steps required to properly restore an old piece of furniture. The first step to decide, “I want to restore this piece because it has amazing potential and is worth the work.” Then, before we apply new paint, we have to remove the old elements which no longer work, scrape off dull, lifeless paint, and sand the rough places. These steps can be arduous and challenging, but they are also the most necessary for a lasting finish. Finally, we get to the painting, decorating, and then present our work of art to the world. What was once tossed aside and forgotten now has renewed purpose.
So, going into this new year, let’s take a deep, cleansing breath and step out of the old and into the new. We can decide today that we will intentionally seek out our fractured and broken places so we can start the restoration process. It excites me to think how much healing can take place by this time next year!
Start Your List
I encourage you to spend some time tonight, even if only fifteen minutes, with a warm beverage, a pen, and a piece of paper. Pray and ask God to reveal areas of your life which need restoration. You may be surprised at what He shows you. Don’t worry about making game plans at this point. Simply write what comes to your mind. In the days ahead, you can look at your list and prioritize it and then create a path to victory.
But for today, just breathe, sip, and make your list. I will be doing the same.
Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s endeavor to make the most of it.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11, ESV)
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. (Acts 3:19-21, ESV)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16, ESV, emphasis mine)
What first step will you take towards restoration in your life this week?