They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Isaiah 61:4
My oldest son just celebrated his 3rd wedding anniversary today. If history were to repeat itself, he would now be half way through the life of his marriage. Sobering thought. Ugly, really. Yet that is precisely how long his father and I were married before total destruction occurred… and it was my doing.
I am ground zero. Time and time again I prove that I am by far the most destructive force in my own life. No terrorist bomb is needed to bring down a decaying building. Given enough time, it is bound to collapse in on itself. Likewise, I needn’t worry about the evil that others may bring my way because I possess the natural capacity to bring destruction upon my own life —not to mention the collateral damage that accompanies it.
God uses a variety of metaphors in scripture to help us understand the process of becoming more like Jesus. I like to think He had me in mind when He inspired the authors to include these word pictures, as I learn best through pictures and it is the language through which God most often speaks to me.
One of the most poignant pictures for me comes from the Old Testament, in the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah.
Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. Isaiah 58:1
My hope lies in the fact that my Father is the God of restoration, the re-builder of ancient ruins. He glories in healing, transformation and renewal.
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations. Isaiah 61:3-4
The journey of a Christian begins at the moment of re-birth and continues until the moment we see Jesus face to face. It is a journey of transformation, of becoming what we were meant to be.
Perhaps one reason we experience defeat as Christians is because we continually attempt to build our lives on a pile of rubble. We cling to the ashes and debris of the past, refusing to let go and let God begin the rebuilding.
Restoration is a process. In scripture it is described as sanctification, transformation, and moving from ‘glory to glory’. It is the dynamic and ongoing process promised to every Believer and accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. It is the promise proclaimed over us the moment we received Jesus Christ as Savior.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Simply put, that means no matter the degree of wreckage we find ourselves in, if we allow God a free-hand in our lives we will just get better and better!