Are You Ready For God’s Restoration Work?

Willow Creek | June 7, 2022

How can one help in the restoration of another? Can we help heal other people, really? The Bible gives us verses and healing scriptures that can restore us and help us walk alongside another person in the process of healing and restoration. And very often, we need other Christ-followers to walk with us, lovingly guiding us in how we can restore our broken parts.

When my husband and I bought our house, the previous owners left a huge, solid wood dining table behind. This summer, I decided to take on the project of refinishing the table–stripping off the old finish, sanding it down, and giving it a facelift with a modern look and fresh stain—a restoration.

“There are parts of me that God wants to reshape, reform, smooth out, and bring back to life”

Over the last few years, I’ve refinished a few pieces of furniture, but never anything this big or with this many details. But as I’ve worked on this table, I can’t help but consider this idea of restoration and the idea that there are parts of me that God wants to reshape, reform, smooth out, and bring back to life. And sometimes, the very first step is someone who loves me enough to point out the parts of me that need some work. 

It’s one thing to look at a table and say, “This could have new life if someone would put some effort into the restoration process.” It’s another to look at a human life and say the same. 

But the table restoration process is teaching me a lot about the way that God calls out beauty from our brokenness and refurbishes our lives to be more alive than ever before. Here are a few lessons that I’m learning: 

COMMIT TO THE PROCESS

Whether I am the one being refined or the one God is calling to have a crucial conversation with someone else–the process is not as simple as identifying the rough edges. The process starts with identification, but it is a long road of stripping and scraping, sanding, sanding, and sanding some more. Then eventually, some shiny new polish comes into play, and it finally feels worth it. But the process feels so cumbersome that those middle stages may make us question, “Was I foolish to begin this restoration process? Wasn’t the table fine before?” 

No. No, it was not. Commit to the process, however slow, however many unexpected turns, however many times that tool you thought was perfect didn’t work. Commit to the whole process. 

IT’S GOING TO GET MESSY

Accept that this will get way messier than you thought it would. And that’s ok. It’s part of the process that you committed to in step one. Keep going. 

IT’S FOR NEW LIFE AND JOY

This isn’t about the table looking good. I mean, it is, but it’s also about the new finish protecting the life of the table. After a few decades of wear and tear, this life—err, I mean table–has been through a lot and has gotten a bit dinged up along the way. It’s time for the table to rest from its duties for a while and let the restoration process rejuvenate and restore the life of the table and the joy of the table’s purpose—to nourish life gathered around. 

Last weekend Pastor Dave talked about a shepherd in Galatians 6 breaking the leg of a wayward sheep in order to save its life. That shepherd then carries the sheep until it is healed properly, and the sheep then stays close to the shepherd. When God allows us to see our failures and flaws, it is never for shame but always for life—an invitation to let the restoration process heal us, restore us, and draw us closer to the heart of the Good Shepherd. 

You can watch the full sermon here.