Psalm 51:10-13 (NLT)
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.
Looking at the proud senior staring back at me in the picture, I long for our son to return to his former appearance. To look healthy and robust as he did that day we had his senior pictures made the summer before his last year in high school. He had big plans for the future that remain even today, but current pictures reveal the physical scars of a two-year battle against cancer. As I look back over the last several months, I remember the first time I compared his appearance to the boy in the picture. I dissolved into tears. He was alive but barely. Radiation had left open gaping wounds on neck. Chemotherapy caused his hair to fall out. His body pale with the pallor left behind from powerful poisons injected to kill the lurking culprit. Physically emaciated from the course of the disease, I cried out to the Lord for restoration. When the cancer was gone, I still secretly longed for the young man in the picture. I want restoration. I long for full restoration of my son – mind, soul and body without reservation. The Lord knows my heart and His Word is shining a light that leads to just that for every believer – full restoration. Lord, how do we get there from here? How does one bring back those things that are gone?
Restoration means to bring back. It means to bring back into existence. It is to bring back to original condition. It brings back health and soundness. To restore is to put back in the former position. It also means to give back. God is working desperately to restore the joy of our salvation. It is not found in this world. It is not hidden in our past. It goes back much further than that. It is about those things that God planned, prepared and promised before you were even born. It is His Purpose for your life undiscovered covered in sin. It is averted in our attempt to live life our own way and be our own person. God wants to restore us completely. Our response is this “create in me a clean heart” and “renew a loyal spirit within me.” All that God has for us is found in His Presence and nowhere else. To have it, we need the Holy Spirit to guide us to the place of receivership even if that means emptying us of all that keeps us from obtaining God’s Very Best!
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
God has a plan for your life. The choice to walk out that plan in our natural life is left up to us as Jesus Christ has given us the freedom to choose between life and death. Blessing and cursing can be determined by what we decide as God has made us individuals. If you do not like the way that things are turning out in your life, you have the power to change them according to God’s Plan and Purpose. It is your choice. God’s Plan for our life is good including a future and hope. This impacts today and forever. But if you stop with just the promise but do not read further, it is easy to miss the provision. We live in partnership with the Lord. We entered a covenant relationship (life for a life) by asking Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior. If we ask God, we must listen for His Response (He will respond). By crying out to the Lord, we are saying that we will look for Him wholeheartedly (He will come). God promises that we can find Him, but are we really looking for His Plan with a future and hope or something more temporary. The Lord promises to end our captivity, but how can a free man be bound? Sin separates us from God’s Plan and Purpose for our life. It restricts us from entering the restoration and fulfillment of God by choosing death and cursing in our life. Every time we choose this life over His Presence a door closes and we miss out on what God intended for us from the very beginning. (Psalm 139:16) God has recorded every moment of our life, and He decided it was with a future and hope. He promised to make good every detail of our life. (Romans 8:28) He is waiting on you! Restoration comes to those who believe God’s Plan and Purpose is best enough to have a relationship with the Lord, seek Him wholeheartedly and wait until He comes.
Deuteronomy 30:2-6 (NLT)
If at that time you and your children return to the LORD your God, and if you obey with all your heart and all your soul all the commands I have given you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you. Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the LORD your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The LORD your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors! The LORD your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!
We come from generations and generations of wanderers who lack faith and trust in the Lord. This is not a new scenario. If we return to the Lord and obey with all of our heart and soul His Commands, I will restore your fortunes. This is the Promise of God for your life! You can be fully restored but not as the world gives and takes. Your Inheritance is that of a Child of the Living God according to His Riches in Glory. Anything less than God’s Absolute Best is compromise and substitution when the Lord promised so much more. Sin banished us from the Presence of God. Salvation allows us by grace to step back into right-standing with our Father in Heaven and accept our divine inheritance. Those who choose to stop wandering from God’s Way and walk in them following the example of Jesus Christ will be fully restored lacking no good thing according to His Word, Will and Way. He will make you even more prosperous than before! Most importantly God will change your heart so that you will love Him with all your heart and live forever!
Job 42:10-17 (NLT)
When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the LORD had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring. So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers.
Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.
The initial cancer treatment for our son was grueling. I felt completely helpless as all I could do was watch and pray caring for him night and day. I remember the waking up one morning nearing the end of radiation therapy and his skin had developed blisters that were literally blistering and breaking open his fair skin so severely that the ointments would melt off from the heat. With a trace of tears in his eyes, he said nothing in my vain attempts to soothe his pain and “doctor” his burning flesh. I remember thinking “God this must have been like what Job endured”. Oh how I prayed that the Lord would heal his broken flesh and renew his body. The Lord did just that. His skin bears no scars from the terrible burns and blisters as the doctors had warned. God healed him quickly. Job lost everything! His family, his fortune and it looked like his future. His friends offered little comfort either. His hardship is forever noted for all to read in God’s Word. I have tried to read Job from beginning to end over and over again stopping and starting at the tirades of his friends. But when I get to the end of the story, my faith is renewed. The Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before. Job lived to be an old man who lived a long, full life. Who would have imagined? Hardship is not a bad thing when it empties us of what keeps us from God’s Full Restoration and Renewal. The boy in the picture most likely had cancer that was yet to be detected. He was dying yet looked so healthy and fit. But the boy I see now is cancer-free taking baby steps to remission but headlong leaps of faith into full restoration and renewal at the Hand of God according to His Plan and Purpose for his life. Our son has fought a battle but won the race of faith. He is being healed by the Hand of God according to His Plan which culminates in a future and hope. He will live a long, full life not because doctors prescribe it but God’s Plan designed it!
Psalm 71:19-21 (NLT)
Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.
God never planned for His Created Ones to endure hardship and suffering in our life. We chose sin over God. Plain and simple, it is the consequences of our choices that cause us this pain. The only way to escape the curse is to choose blessing. We are rescued from death and the grave by choosing life. When we choose our own way of doing things or only halfheartedly attempt to seek the Lord, we will endure hardship and heartache over and over again. It is by faith and trust in God’s Plan, Promises and Purpose that we walk in His Way and leave these things behind. Let’s face it most of us did not even cry out to the Lord until we reached a dead end. Faith has no priority until it is all we have left. We must be stripped of everything including pride and self-sufficiency to ever truly rely on the Lord as He intended all along and when relief makes its way to us rather than waiting on restoration and renewal by God – we rebel and try to do it our way again. This repetitive cycle is robbing the Body of Christ of everything that Jesus died for us to have “again”! Restoration means to bring back – remember. This is God’s Will for our life if we will walk in His Ways it comes back to us!
Psalm 119:105-107 (NLT)
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations. I have suffered much, O LORD; restore my life again as you promised.
I do not believe that God gave my son cancer. I do not think it was ever a part of God’s Plan for him to suffer all that he has endured. However, I do believe that God will take every single detail of our life and make good on every single promise if we love and trust Him enough to walk in His Word, follow His Way and do His Will by faith. Faith restores a position of righteousness. Righteousness gives us infinite access to our inheritance as Children of God. God is desperately trying to restore and renew your life as He intended. Sin allowed sickness and disease to enter our bodies due to a corroded heart. But the Lord wants to give us a brand new heart that loves Him enough to trust Him living in confident hope that what He has planned in the unseen is worth enduring what we must to find our way back home too where He is. God wants to change your heart and mind so that your soul will be secure. He will give you a new and responsive heart by breaking your hard, callous one. “When the people return to their homeland, they will remove every trace of their vile images and detestable idols. And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:18-20)
Isaiah 57:14-15 (NLT)
God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”
Two years is a long time to endure with four cancer diagnoses if one looks at it from the world’s perspective. Yet God has healed our son four separate times faithful and true to His Word. Our family has more faith today than we did two years ago thanks to the Mighty Works of God that we have witness. We anticipate the next move of God which is total and lasting remission. Anxiety is gone because in the midst of the hardship the Lord has completely sustained our son. He attends school full-time. He lives independently. In fact, his life has not been hindered by cancer – he continues to prosper. Watching him sleep during the last infusion, a smile crept across my face as I was intent on his features. Even though the cancer came back three additional times, the boy is coming back to life before our very eyes. There are no symptoms or side effects from treatment. His blood is good. His body strong. No scars. Hair is growing. His weight fully restored. His color coming back. Even his ability to eat and swallow secondary to damaged saliva glands is returning, meals that took an hour now is consumed in minutes. God is working His Plan in our son’s life and we are witnesses. It is our job to simply love and trust the Lord serving Him with our life and He is restoring our son, as well as other aspects of our life. What the enemy meant for evil has turned into goodness thanks to Jesus! We must remain faithful “clearing way the rocks and stones” and “rebuilding the road” of a right relationship with the Lord and He will do EVERYTHING else. No worries. No cares. No need to be anxious. If we just wait on the Lord – restoration will come. It was His Plan all along, all I must do is live by faith and confident hope! Everything is going according to His Plan when we make the conscious choice to walk in His Way. You cannot help but stumble on His Goodness. You will marvel at the sheer dimensions of His Great Love and attention to detail in your life. If you look for Him, you will find Him in everything. His Mercy and Compassion overtake you the moment you turn (repent) and seek Him wholeheartedly. Why not try it His Way for a while? You just might like what you see!
Psalm 126:1-3 (NLT)
Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.