By Kathy Pollard
All my life I’ve heard that God is in the restoring business. It’s easy to remind others of this when they are going through despair. If a friend or loved one feels like their world has fallen apart, we tell them, “God can take the broken and make it whole again.” But can He? Is there truth to this assurance?
Can the brokenhearted ever piece their heart back together? Can the betrayed really trust and love again? Can one who has been rejected feel acceptance? Can one who is riddled with guilt ever find peace or feel worthy? Can the grieving ever experience delight and laughter again?
I planted some lovely flowers and then left for a week. The neglected flowers really suffered. They turned gray and scraggly. I was pretty sure they were goners. Then I needed to leave town again. This time, some dear friends offered to take care of our yard. I said, “Don’t worry about the flowers. They’re already doomed.” I think they took that as a challenge. They carefully watered and babied those flowers for two solid weeks. When I got back, the flowers didn’t look great but they were still hanging in there. I really didn’t feel like trying to save them but since my friends had worked so hard at it I felt obligated. So whenever I’d think about it, I’d take the garden hose to them. The past several days have been rainy, which is unusual for sunny Colorado. It hasn’t been a warm summer rain but more of a chilly, gray, depressing rain. Yesterday morning when I walked outside I stopped dead in my tracks. My flowers! I knelt down and looked in wonder at all the new green growth, the sunny yellow blooms, and the buds promising more to come. Not only are they healthy and whole, they are even fuller than before. I smiled so big to see the remarkable change from withered and ugly to vibrant and beautiful.
God “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psa. 147:3). Can He really do that? “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Psa. 51:10,12). Oh how I long for that! But will He really do that for me, with all of my weaknesses and failed attempts? YES! He can and He will! God cares way more for you and me than He does for my flowers (Matt. 6:30).
When we’re in the midst of needing that restoration, it becomes a matter of faith. When Jesus used the grass as an example of how He would much more take care of us, He ended with, “You of little faith!” It’s as if He’s saying, “Don’t you believe Me? Don’t you know how much I love you? Trust Me!” I want to. But how? From the living demonstration of my flowers, I think we can learn a couple of things:
Be diligent. My friends were. I think they cared more about my flowers than I did. That motivated me to continue on with the efforts to save the pathetic-looking things. I didn’t really feel like it and certainly didn’t think it’d do much good, but I pressed on anyway. I went through the motions and provided what I knew the flowers needed, even though my heart wasn’t in it.
When in need of restoration, hang on. Don’t give up. Keep doing what you’re supposed to be doing, one day at a time. You may not feel like it but press on anyway. As the saying goes, “Faith it till you make it.” Trust that God can bring something good out of your diligence and that your efforts won’t be in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). Don’t let your hurting or discouraged heart keep you from trying again. Hold fast (Heb. 3:6; 4:14; 10:23).
Rely on God. The days of steady rain provided just what my flowers needed. I couldn’t have given them that. I didn’t really enjoy the soggy weather but now I can see how it was the perfect environment to foster incredible growth.
We know God loves us and wants to be there for us, so why do we continue to rely on ourselves? Why do we keep trying to lean on our own strength? Why do we think we have to see the outcome before we put forth any effort? Trusting in God means even when I don’t see how anything good can come from my circumstances, I will press on and trust Him to do His part. I will remember His promise to provide for me and make me whole again. I will put Him first in my life even when that feels like too much to ask or when it seems hard. Jesus reminds us that our heavenly Father knows exactly what we need. He knows it even before we do. And He longs to give it to us (Matt. 6:32-33).
God really can restore. So be diligent. Take those steps toward healing one day at a time. Rely on God’s strength and His promises to provide exactly what we need. Even when we think we are beyond help, God can create something even stronger and more beautiful than before.