Restoration of people
What was the original?
What is Restoration and why do we need to be restored? I come from one of those homes that grew up with the great tradition that the world started with a creator that loved each living thing and crafted it carefully and thoughtfully so that even in a world full of sin and war beauty still shines through. Man made by the forming of clay and breathing of God’s spirit to make a being. Adam a being that could live totally dependent on a loving God and totally trusting of this God. Man who then felt incomplete without a partner. Then God formed women to be man’s partner in life. They choose to sin having no idea of the true consequences of that choice. Now all creation groans from the choices people make, we have lost so much of the original that most of us even those who grew up with little glimpses of heaven and the Bible have a hard time imagining the wonder of walking and talking with God.
Restoration we understand when it comes to houses. People can buy and old house and take out the old rotting parts, missing parts, or those that don’t work anymore. They can put in new boards, fix the molding, patch the holes and make the house match the period it was build in. This we understand pretty well.
I would like to look at what it means in people though. Do we have a model for what people should look, act and feel like? In the physical sense yes we do. People who have lost function and need to do rehabilitation of limbs or portions of their body. Most of us have known at least one person who has had to learn how to walk again after an injury or how to use an arm again after a cast was on because of a break.
Restoration on the level of the land is something we see at times. Some of us have had the privilege of watching a neglected weed filled lot or field come to life under the careful hands of someone who can see potential in the ground. I have watched gardeners make paradise out of trash heaps. I live in the heart of wheat country and love to watch the fields turn green in spring. In the fall when they have been harvested you would never guess how green they will be in the spring.
Restoration for streams can come in many forms as well. I grew up in a place where people dumped their garbage in the creeks and swampy places. There were old cars in the creek and tin cans and lots of trash at one of those places that I remember playing. I never quite figured out why anyone would do that. The wildlife has a wonderful way of using our junk though and helping it decompose. I have seen numerous nests in old cars. I have seen whole sea villages build on sunken ships.
Restoration in people can be the same. It can help by people being able to come from one place to another through peril or change of circumstances. There are wonderful stories of some of our best and brightest changed by the love of a mother, a teacher, or a friend that helped them overcome some kind of obstacle.
There have been countless mothers that have gone to bat for their children when the child was not valued for their gifts by others or put down because they are not normal or impaired. Some of our greatest men owed a great deal to their Mothers and step Mothers. I am thinking of people such as Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and George Washington Carver. Only one of these men had his biological mother for the better part of his life. All benefited from the love and hope bestowed on them by those who mothered them. I can relate because when they wanted to flunk me in third grade my mother said no the child will read at grade level when she comes back to school.
When it comes to great teachers I will vouch for the one that believed in me though I was a very unpromising student. I was very slow because I had difficulty seeing things. I could pass an eye exam quite well but the lines and words on the pages moved while I was trying to read them. I had to learn to compensate for what I could not see. I could never color in the lines and my teacher thought I was being sloppy because I would color outside. She had no idea the lines were moving on me because my eyes were constantly refocusing. She wanted me to do the 3rd grade over. My mother said no she will read all summer and when she returns to school she will be able to read and do her work. So I did have to read all summer. I did do my work better when I went back to school. My poor teacher thought that I was never going to make it though grade school. Her husband who taught me for the next four grades thought differently. He had the wonderful ability to see potential in the least likely of students. He bragged about me coming up and asking for my next assignment. I worked my heart out for him because he believed in me and my potential to succeed. We are reminded of great teachers by the movies like Ann of Green Gables, To Sir with Love, Dead Poets Society, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and Stand and Deliver.
God though has a heart that is even bigger and wishes to restore each of his children to a full relationship with him. This relationship is one that can be started by reading about how God deals with man. The gospels tell of his love for children, for plain fishermen, for tax collectors, for neglected women, for the downcast, ill and sorrowful. It tells of his love healing and restoration of hope, health, and life. This God still inspires people to change their lives though his love and forgiveness and desire for people to be whole.
I would miss one of the greatest stories of friendship and restoration if I didn’t mention Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan who changed not only the life of this child. She changed and helped by this fast friend the chances of deaf and dumb children forever. The story is well worth reading or watching. I have always had a great admiration for those who choose to help the blind or deaf. I also suffered from numerous ear infections as a child and am a little deaf.
The biggest change that I have seen though comes in the form of restoration from another source. A creator who wished that all might live in love joy peace and harmony. This creator provided for healing and restoration to every living person. He wanted people to be complete whole and remade by association with his word, his people, and his reflection in nature. I have had the blessing of watching many people do what my father did and allow themselves to be found by God and transformed by God. My father was a cowboy coalminer and boxer from Colorado. He was also an alcoholic and addicted to nicotine. He had married a lady who studied the Bible and decided to study for him-self and prove her wrong, because she did not go to church on the right day according to him. He found a mail order Bible study Course and went to work on it. He ended up a changed man. He became aware of his body being the Temple of the Living God so he changed his health habits. He became aware of forgiveness so he forgave. He became aware of many other forms of sin so he prayed for help to remove them from his life. He lost this wife to cancer and later married my mom but he married her as a different man. He had given his life to God. He was not perfect but he had the hope of waking up to Jesus coming and living a perfect life in the world made new. He also saved his children from a lot of grief by telling us how much God had given him in freedom by changing the way he thought about the world.
I have seen God work in so many different ways in so many lives. I was reminded recently of the restoration of friendship. This was my own blunder for which I will take complete credit as to the havoc I made of a long time friendship. I have a friend who is married to an man who seems to think that his habits of belittling his wife and trying to isolate her for his own selfish reasons makes his life somehow better. I blundered onto a soft spot and gave him footing on one visit to grieve my friend. I did this by bringing my lifestyle with me when I went to visit. We have been friends for more then 25 years now. I vented some of my own frustrations that my friend found offensive. It was foolish for me and selfish and I later apologized. She had decided that I was no longer someone she wished to be close to though. I was grieved because I knew I should have kept quiet. I am so glad we have a chance to rebuild our relationship.
I have been blessed though with the joy of freindship on it's way to restoration. I am so glad for the many ways God has blessed me through my friends and sometimes though strangers. I hope this has been a blessing to you today.