Yesterday at Aldersgate United Methodist Church the associated pastor Jamie Mosteller preached about being restored. He chose as his text Joel 2:23-32 which begins “Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be put to shame.”
I’m not sure exactly where he went with this text. Frankly, he lost me after five minutes. But I have been thinking about this idea of being restored. Rev. Mosteller asked us about things that get restored: paintings, buildings, and people. I went off on my own tangent with the buildings and started thinking about the things we do to a house. We rearrange. We remodel. We renovate. We restore.
Rearranging is the least expensive and difficult. We might re-purpose a child’s room after he or she moves out. We might rearrange the living room furniture. We might clean out all the cupboards in the kitchen and then rearrange them to better suit us. We are in charge and we do the rearranging to conform to our tastes and desires.
Restoring is much more extensive. Restoring means returning something to its original condition. If we restore an old house, we look for fixtures and accessories that match the era. We choose wall paper that matches the original. We don’t tear down the plaster and put up drywall – we hire the very expensive plasterer who can restore the original. To restore something means that we gut it down to the original and then build it back up again using the intentions of the original builder.
Now think about how we remodel the house of our soul. Do we profess to be God-shaped and then rearrange according to our own tastes and desires? Or are we willing to let God restore us, to put us back in the form he originally intended before sin messed up the building? Do we insist on rearranging our own way or are we willing to be restored to God’s way?
There is only one way we can reclaim the years “lost to locusts” or redeem the years we have ahead. We must allow our lives to be restored by God. Anything that doesn’t belong must be ripped out, no matter how painful. Only God can restore us so that we are the creatures he created us to be.