December 26, 2016
Reach and Restore Everyone Through The Love of Christ
We will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us that we may be saved. Psalm 80:18-19
Twenty years into our marriage my wife Rita happily inherited her grandmother’s dining room table, china cabinet and buffet. Positive emotions flooded her heart at the thought of holiday memories around these silent accessories to joy and good food. Crispy fried chicken—any leftovers remained on the buffet after lunch for anyone to snack on and even enjoy for dinner, cornbread served from a hot cast iron skillet—handled gingerly with puffy oven mitts, left its faded mark on the veneer wooden surface. A carefree childhood was etched all over this rare prize.
We borrowed a pick-up truck and made our way on a three hour missionary journey from Atlanta to Alabama to convert these neglected antiques and restore them to their original intent. We backed up to a dilapidated shed, the rusty sheet metal roof—leaning as if it might collapse at any moment—we brushed back a forcefield of cobwebs stationed to enmesh our faces—and finally found our treasures half covered by a dirty blue tarp. Like the embrace of an abandoned orphan, we covered the forgotten furniture with gritty moving blankets and bungeed them in securely.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).
Back home I found a furniture restoration professional who confidently baptized (immersed) each wooden piece individually into a chemical vat, thoroughly stripping away all the layers of finish and over the next few weeks he applied cherrywood stain—most soothing to the eyes. The joyful symbol of Rita’s childhood was restored and placed in our dining room as a reminder of our need to reach and restore those people, places and things that need our patient attention and love.
What family member or friend needs you to reach out to them and help them dust away forgotten dreams and remind them of their hope in Christ’s love? To reach out is relationally messy and at times emotionally dirty, but the time, energy and money invested can produce a beautiful life restored by the grace of God. We reach and God restores. We pray and sometimes we become the Lord’s answer to our prayers. We are loved by the Christ, so we can love others with His love. Trust Jesus to bring spiritual, emotional, relational and physical restoration in His perfect timing.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage and care to reach others, while trusting You to restore them by Your grace.
Related Readings: 2 Samuel 16:12; Job 42:10; Lamentations 5:21; Acts 3:21; 1 Peter 5:10
Posted on 12/26/2016 at 06:44:00 AM