Has life taken things from you?
Have hardship, trauma, personal failure, and the like ravaged your heart, soul, and mind to the point that it feels as if big chunks of you are missing?
Life can do that.
At church today, I heard a beautiful sermon preached on restoration called, “I Don’t Look Like What I’ve Been Through.”
The thesis of the message was the idea that Christ’s power can replace our missing parts. As Christians, we have the hope of being restored so immaculately, it will be as if we were never damaged to being with.
- We won’t look like we’ve lost loved ones.
- We won’t look like we’ve battled addictions.
- We won’t look like we’ve come from broken families.
When Christ’s restorative work is done, we won’t look like what we’ve been through.
Luke 17:12–19 was the anchor text.
This passage is the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. The climax of the story is not that the lives of ten men with an incurable, flesh-rotting disease were miraculously spared by Jesus.
Instead, it’s that ONLY ONE of the ten had the wherewithal to go look Jesus up, fall on his face, and profusely thank Jesus for saving his life.
After Jesus rhetorically asked where the other nine were, he told the man, “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee WHOLE.”
As this man returned to his former life, he returned not with rotting of skin, missing body parts, and so on.
Instead, he returned to his community completely WHOLE.
All that he lost to the disease, Jesus returned unto him.
He was RESTORED.
He didn’t look like what he’d been through.
The minister made a beautiful analogy of Jesus’ power not only restore us physically, but to do so mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
This is certainly true.
After all, it was Jesus Himself who said in Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed Me to:
- preach the gospel to the poor
- heal the brokenhearted
- proclaim liberty to the captives
- give recovery of sight to the blind
- set at liberty those who are oppressed
That pretty much covers it.
Jesus came to give us our stuff back. And if you believe and pursue Him to do so, He absolutely will.
Although, your experience might look a little different than the leper’s.
Restoration as a Process
Following the sermon, the altar appeal was given for the congregation to come receive spiritual restoration. The altars were flooded. No doubt many came with the expectation to receive the same instantaneous experience as the leper.
In one moment, his flesh was rotting. In the next, his body was perfectly normal.
While Christ does gives us transformational experiences that signal to us that he has begun a life-changing process in us, often restoration is just that. A process.
Ephesians 2:10 says that we are Christ’s workmanship or his masterpiece. The implication here is that we are being continually crafted by the master artist.
Hopefully many did receive some beautiful things in a moment in the altar today.
But I daresay that many did not leave with everything given back to them at once.
Perhaps you’ve had experiences like this.
- You’ve cried out to God in desperation, yet that addiction creeps back up.
- You’ve felt his presence, yet you still struggle with forgiving the person who took a wrecking ball to your family.
- You’ve given your life wholly to Christ, yet you still have bouts of depression.
In other words, you didn’t get your 10th leper experience.
When this happens (or doesn’t happen), the temptation is to think Christ’s restorative power must not working in you.
And that’s exactly what Satan wants you to think. Because you’ll get discouraged and quit.
He wants you to compare yourself to the leper, to the person who publicly testified of being instantly delivered of all of their problems, and to the person in that article whose family put back together in a flash.
These beautiful moments do happen and my purpose is not to diminish them.
Instead, my intent is to encourage those of you who are still in an ongoing restoration process.
Because of their sensational appeal, instant restoration stories are the ones most publicized.
We should testify of these instant miracles from the rooftops. We should also believe for them to happen in our lives.
What we should not believe is that instantaneous restoration is the rule. We should not believe that if we don’t get full deliverance immediately, there must be something wrong with us.
I would argue that not only is instantaneous restoration not the rule, it’s the exception.
But that’s another article for another time.
For today, know that if you’ve asked Christ to restore you — the same Christ who said His very purpose was to restore the brokenness of humanity — His restoration process is at work in you.
And if you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe Jesus, “…and the one who comes to Me, I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37)
He was talking about you.
Get unstuck by believing the TRUTH about yourself.