“I will restore everything that was lost.” -Jeremiah 32:44b [MSG]
I love seeing old things being restored. It gives me a fuzzy feeling inside when I see the before and after of something that needed care, attention, and just plain old hard work.
I live in a 106 year old home. I’m sure when it was built many moons ago, it was a great house. After years of wear and tear, it was not the way it was when it was first built. When we moved into this house, it had been completely overhauled, and thanks to Mr. David Holmgren, our home is now beautiful. I wish I could have seen what the house looked like before, but judging by what some of the other homes on our street look like, I can guess that it probably was pretty shabby.
The original design of our home was much smaller, and the garage was an addition. The siding was not vinyl, and I can guarantee it didn’t have normal sheet rock hanging on the walls. The original bathroom would never have had two sinks or be quite as spacious as it is now. In fact, it didn’t even have a basement. The decks and fencing were added later.
In life, we are in need of restoration just as badly as the inanimate things around us. The world wears us down, the erosion of the soul begins the minute we are born into this fallen place. Through life experiences, we lose the luster of perfection too frequently to keep track of. We are in dire need of Mr. Jesus Christ and his perfect restoration.
God’s decree in Jeremiah was that he would restore everything that was lost. Israel and God, if you need a bit of background, were really not getting along very well. I am no scholar, but as I’ve been reading through, God seems so freaking schizophrenic when it comes to Israel and whether or not he’s going to smoke them or save them.
At this point in the book, he is certainly going to “bring this huge catastrophe on this people, but will also usher in a wonderful life of prosperity.” He goes onto state examples of how this will happen and the bookend of this chapter is that he will restore everything that has been lost.
Restoration is not a face lift. It is not just a sprucing up. It is peeling off the old, decrepit siding, taking a sledge hammer to the crumbling lath and plaster walls, building and rebuilding structures to fit the original design, and to bring the home up to date. It is painful. It is hard work. But I love the end result.
This is a perfect parallel to my own life. I can’t pretend that a make-over will fix the lost data underneath. That will only cover up the problem temporarily until the rain comes and washes the mask off. Jesus must come and scrape the outer layers of my life down to the core, back to its original design. The parts of me that are broken and bent and beyond repair must be purged, and only Christ can order new ones. All things restored. That’s a promise.
This promise doesn’t sound conditional in Scripture. But I do wonder, if I desire this restoration of my eroding soul, shouldn’t I need to do something? Perhaps not, I’m not really sure. But think about if I would like to have my car restored. Can I just will it to be restored and it will be so? Not likely. I actually have to call someone who knows what the heck they are doing in order for the process to start.
Likewise, is the restoration of my soul not something I have to want and also ask for from the great carpenter? He’s really the only one who knows what the heck needs a fixing in my life. It’s time I ask for a system restore. Perhaps if only I ask, he promises to restore me to my original design, the perfect form of human that I was drafted to be.