Replaced Or Restored?

 "After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before." Job 42:10...Ours is a God of restoration. Do not confuse restoration with replacement. God's way is not just to replace what we've lost, but to restore us....Our infinitely wise God does far more than replace. He goes straight to the heart to heal." Beth Moore

 

I think, as Moore states, that we're very confused as to the difference between replacing and restoring. We read Scriptures like the one above, as well as promises like, "I will restore the years that the locust have eaten," and claim them as His promise to replace all that we have lost. We completely miss just what He wishes to do in His process of restoration. We feel loss, deeply. In the death of a loved one, in divorce, betrayal, loss of a job or ministry. In all of them, we turn to Him, but too often, with the desire that He replace what we have lost, not for Him to restore to us what was lost in our hearts and spirits. Loss will always be accompanied by wounds. Sometimes deep and devastating ones. In our pain and grief, we cry out to Him to give us something in place of what has been taken. But if the wounds of the loss are not tended to, healed by Him, they fester, and we can be sure, they will rise up to destroy whatever "new thing" has been brought into our lives. The evidence for this is overwhelming, especially in the area of divorce. We look for Him to replace the one who left us, but ignore our need for His deep cleansing and healing work in our hearts and spirits. The hurt, anger, bitterness that is there remains, and sooner or later, if left untended, will poison whatever "new" relationship we've entered into. The spiritual landscape is covered with countless ones who found this out to their deep hurt and pain.

We read Job 42:10 and see in it a promise for Him to give back twice the amount of what we have lost. Yet we miss what the Father worked in Job before He did that. If you're familiar with the story, Job's three friends had come to "minister" to him in his pain. They ended up telling him that his lot was due to his sin and failure. Can you imagine what that did to his spirit? The only human response would be one of anger, resentment, and unforgiveness. All these elements were likely present in Job, and the Father knew it. He instructed Job to pray for those friends. Not to pray that the Lord would punish them for their words and actions, but that He would forgive them. It was in those prayers for his friends, that the Father was able to bring healing to his heart over how deeply they had wounded and offended him. It was after that work of restoration in his heart that God gave back double the amount of what he had lost. And really, it is not the replacing of things, jobs, ministries, or even people that He is first seeking. It is the healing and restoration of our lives, the bringing of wholeness out of brokenness that He seeks. Without this happening in us, whatever has been replaced will most likely soon be "lost" again. Broken people continue to live in broken patterns, meandering about in their broken lives. 

There are so many aspects of my life that have been lost and I first sought for Him to replace. I learned, painfully, that He doesn't seek to replace, but restore. And this happens at only one place; His cross. When we bring the pain, the wounds, the brokenness, to the One who was broken for us, then, and only then, does He begin His work of restoration. He has not replaced everything that has been lost in my life. Such is in His hands, but I know that He has restored a heart and spirit that was wounded and broken. He has. He does. He will. Has He, does He, will He, for you?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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