The God who Restores
Yesterday was the culmination of many years of preparation, trial, learning, and encountering God's abundance of grace. I have been a licensed minister in the Church of the Nazarene in the process of becoming ordained by the Church. I appreciate this journey for I desire that our churches are filled with women and men who are tested, mature, and called to serve in the privilege to minister and serve God's people. I was able to go before the board of men and women who have walked with me over these last four years and be put through the process of demonstrating if I am fit for such an opportunity.
One question that was asked was simply, "What does Ordination mean to you?" I essentially answered it with the fact that it is an authentication of God's restorative work in my heart and life. That I have been called, which only God can do, and recognized as a minister, which only the Church can do (formally). As the interview led to the affirmation of this desire to be ordained, I just wept as these men and women prayed over my wife and I at the sheer grace I have been given. It astounds me to be in this place and trust that it is all the work of God through my willingness to be humble enough to grow and follow.
Our God is a God who restores. As I have walked through divorce, bankruptcy, losing a home, a business, friends, without a home for a season, and sheer poverty (there was a moment I couldn't feed myself), I think of how through it all God was changeless and ever present with me. There were moments where I was given the chance to trust or to turn, and so thankful that I began to do the former more than the latter over and over again.
I have found that these experiences have not disqualified me but equipped me if I let the Lord redeem them. This is the case for all. It is not God's will for pain, brokenness, and folly to be what you encounter in life. That is due to the choices of humanity in their free will choice. Whether the consequences are from your own choices or others, we are in a fallen world where bad stuff happens to everyone, good or bad people. What is given is the opportunity to encounter a God who will bless, heal, walk with you, and ultimately set you in a place to observe and witness his goodness and love for you.
I do encounter many people in this season who are in the middle of good times and not so good. I am thankful that I have the experiences now to point to a deep sense of compassion as I can remember when it all fell apart, and I can bring hope that God can restore in greater measures than I ever experienced.
On this Break the Ties Tuesday, how can you begin to trust more than decide to turn from God's redemptive and restorative love? Will you trust that God will see these days redeemed if you lean into him more than anything or anyone else in this world? I pray you can experience, give praise, and discover the restorative work of God and see in new ways how he will authenticate the work he has done. The healing, the sobriety, the new relationships, the new role or goal accomplished, the ministry that brings him glory as ways that will demonstrate to your tender heart and the jaded world that God is a God who restores!
Keep Looking Up!