By: MARILYN TINNIN
He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3).
On this almost spring afternoon in late March, the sun is shining. It is the kind of day that makes up for the past season of frigid temperatures and the endless months of gray and brown everything. I know I can trust that spring will come, but it does seem that it has taken an unusually long time to arrive this year.
Maybe I yearn for spring more than usual right now. Thus far, 2014 has dealt my family several major challenges, those events psychologists term “life stressors.” I admit I am tired, and there is no “tired” quite like the “tired” that comes with circumstances that stack up one behind the other—without offering the chance to recover from one before the next one hits. If anything, I have learned yet again that life comes to all of us with a lot of unwelcome surprises. It is never on our own terms.
I have a feeling many of you know exactly what I mean. Sometimes there are whole seasons of life when it feels like winter has come to stay. We can’t wish or pray hard enough to erase what is on our plate! It is also true that in the most difficult times when we come to the end of our finite reserves, we recognize as 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God’s grace is (as advertised) sufficient and His power is (as advertised) made perfect in our weakness.
“He restores my soul.” Yes. Past, present, and future. I am sure of it. And He understands my pain. He does. There is in this world just so much loss, so much grief, so much disappointment, and so much hurt that can disrupt our personal little worlds that were it not true—that He does restore our souls—life would be meaningless indeed. But it is not. It is not meaningless because we are finite creatures with eternal souls who have a relationship with an infinite, omnipotent, and incredibly loving Savior.
I have said often the best part of growing older is that walking by faith gets a bit easier, because experience bears witness to the truth of God’s word and God’s promises. Even when the path is dark, we know the light is going to shine at some point. I wonder if the writer of Hebrews felt exactly that way when he penned Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Certain. Great word. I like a sure thing as much as the next person.
The Bradford Pears are blooming everywhere. The Azaleas and the Dogwood should be close behind. Spring is gradually pushing life and color all across the barren landscape of winter even if it is not on my timetable. Restoration is the unique theme of spring and of Easter. It is the whole point, but sometimes the fog of what is right here in front of us blocks the through-and-through joy of just what that restoration means—and the certainty that it is coming. For the time being, while we wear our “earth suits,” we see only a poor reflection of restoration (1 Corinthians 13:12). Although there are times when we catch a glimpse of it—you know, the cancer cured, the hopeless relationship mended, the victory where defeat looked sure—there are also days when we have to strain to remind ourselves, “Yes, I can be certain even here and now, in this present moment, that God is still God and Jesus IS coming back.”
Do you remember that final scene in the movie Titanic when the camera sweeps across the dark, silent ocean tomb where the great ship rests? Suddenly the music crescendos, the pace quickens, and the rusty shell bursts to life. Once again the deck gleams, the chandeliers shimmer, and a wedding celebration reunites the young and beautiful Rose and her charming and handsome Jack. Restoration personified. Do you think it will be a little like that on that day when Jesus comes again?
I think it might be—only much better.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:4,5 ESV).
Enjoy this, our Easter issue. Read it cover to cover and revel, Believer, and revel in the truth and the promise of restoration. There is much here to cheer your heart and I dare say—restore your soul a little!