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Last week we took the youngest four of our five children on a road trip to Decorah, IA. It is a four hour trip one way according to Google Maps, but of course with a 4 year old and a 1 year old, it took us five. We started the day with this impromptu trip a little later than we should have and without warning to our junior high girls. I was amazed how they had no idea how long this trip would take, but never asked the dreaded vacation question, “Are we there yet?”

So often I find myself asking God this same question. Are we there yet God? With even more fault I find myself declaring that I have arrived, only to hear Him say it is time to continue on down the road.

I keep looking for the signs that show I am on the right road still and getting closer to the destination. Sometimes they come in words spoken by a friend, or ministries that just seem to pop up and need started. Whatever their shape, they are a comfort.

Another confession, I love Pintrest. Seeing how someone took an old piece of furniture and turn it into a new functional piece just give me hope. It’s amazing what a coat of paint and a couple of baskets where drawers used to be can do. Often I look at these pictures and convince myself I too could do this. I am still watchfully seeking a junky garage sale dresser to be transformed into an island for my kitchen.

How often we want to do the same act in ourselves by throwing on a new coat of paint and switch around a part of our lives to say that God has transformed us. Unfortunately this is not how our mighty Father works. When He says we will be transformed, it is into a new creation, not an up-cycle.

He does say He will restore us though. Not a coat of paint, but stripped down, sanded, stained and lacquered. Very few Pintrest pins show before and after pictures of this process. Maybe because it is so much work. The time it takes to strip the varnish off without ruining the wood. Then sanding every detail while repairing years of imperfections. Finally applying an even stain and new lacquer. Hours of work to restore the piece to its original glory.

This is the process God chooses to take with us. Not a quick fix, but a daily work that will take years. And He loves every minute of it. This is the time He spends with me. Just me and Him, sanding out years of imperfections. Repairing that time life knocked my legs right out from under me. Building me stronger and smoother than when I was created.

In Joel 2:25 hides his promise to restore you. “I will restore the years the locust have eaten.” The analogy is of how swarms of locust can come in and eat an entire years worth of crop leaving nothing behind but devastation and famine. Sticks where a crop used to grow. Our Father says He will restore us though. Giving us back all we’ve lost. He has done this throughout the last 12 years of my life. From that day when I sat in front of a church crying out to Him while it rained, He has continued to restore my life. He has restored the years of childhood abuse, my drug and alcohol abuse, rape, depression, divorce, and many, many miscarriages. He has given me a new life. Somedays I still have someone bump into me and I think those legs will fall back out. Even if they do I know he will continue to restore me until the day it’s time to go home. Then I will no longer need to, ask are we there yet?

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