I have a few pieces of antique furniture scattered around my house. They are family heirlooms, inherited from my husband’s side of the family.
Now I must say that most of these pieces are showing wear and tear. I guess I would too if I were at least 100 years old. Our dining room table celebrates its 100th year birth into the Boller family this year. Marty’s grandparents bought it on their honeymoon in 1910.
Through the years it has gone through several restorations and still needs ongoing care. While it has been quite functional to us, it has its quirks that from time to time need attention, needs some restoring in order for it to continue to be a table.
I have been reflecting on restoration within the larger context of renewal and as I sit at my table, I realize that it is still functioning as a table because it has undergone restoration from time to time. I too want to function well as a follower of Jesus that loves God and loves people but I need to be restored and refreshed continually.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just press a Reset button on our brains just like on a computer and voila! instant restoration, a changed attitude, a changed soul. But unlike computers restoration isn’t usually quite that instant.
But restoration is accessible, just as that Reset button is. It is accessible through God.
Sometimes, the finger of God suddenly comes and presses that button. The other day was one of those days when from the start I hit the day running, sometimes literally. It was a good day. I got a lot of my to- do list done, piles on my desk attended to, errands run, laundry done, bathrooms cleaned. I even baked lemon bars for a meeting that was scheduled for later that day.
Suddenly, I felt worn out, tired.
As I sat down I decided to put Leo Tolstoy’s three great questions to work. These questions help you in remembering to live well in this present moment. As I asked and reflected on “What is the most important time?” (Now, because it is the only time you have.) “Who is the most important person?” (The one you are with.) and “What is the most important opportunity?” (To love God and love people.), I began to feel a swell of leisure settle in my bones. I could feel the warmth and encouragement of the Lord’s Presence right then, just as if someone had pressed my Reset button. That someone was God. I felt it, I relished it, I sat in it for a while.
While that situation felt sudden, the same thing is required of us for the long haul restoration. By that I mean, we must put ourselves in a place where we will be attentive to God’s Presence, where we give time and place to restoration. He truly is the only one that can restore. His job is to restore – order, peace, balance… Our job is to stop resisting His unctions and to let Him do the work of restoration.
I have been intentionally working on an upgrade of renewal in my life which has been spurred on by my friend Letitia Suk . Her recently published book called Rhythms of Renewal has served to bring about some changes in how I manage my day to day living out of this thing called life.
I readily admit I need to not only live in that groove of the rhythm of renewal but I need to assess my daily walk and take steps that help create a culture or environment that becomes a daily pattern and reminder to stay in touch with God.
Letitia says (p.38 Rhythms of Renewal), “Restoration comes in the midst of our circumstances, regardless of our season of life. It is not the vacation at the end of the project but the breath of life that flows through it. It is available to us at all times and in all places.”
All times. All places. Ongoing. We can live in a place where we are the recipients of ongoing restoration. Just like my table. Ongoing frequent restoration allows it to still be a table instead of a pile of broken boards.
Aah…what a relief. Can’t you just picture it? God’s finger comes and taps that Reset button on our hearts time and time again. His finger which is always poised to reset that button, brings the restoration needed for that moment to our souls.
When I think of my table and the times when, with success we have been able to reset the pedestal firmly to the table top by drilling new holes and refitting new screws into the holes and the sense of relief and accomplishment that we feel as we once again have a sturdy table to dine on, I recall those times when relief set in as I felt the pleasure of being set free from life’s stuff.
Restored once again.
Or as author Phillip Keller (A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23/He restoreth my soul) puts it, “Oh the pleasure of being set free from ourselves! What a restoration!”