Restoring What Was Lost
The Promise of a Bountiful Future
The story typically sounds the same. It may have slightly different notes that it strikes, but the overall theme is essentially repeated. Someone will recount how they are now missing out on _____ due to mistakes they made in the past.
A variety of things can fill in the blank:
These are merely a sample of the kinds of things over which people often express regret.
Into this sorrow the gospel breaks with beaming light. There may not be a way to go back and change the past, but there is a way forward which gives great hope.
Peter spoke of it in Acts 3 when he said that the Lord can bring "times of refreshing." Peter drew on the agricultural world of his time. Droughts would cause the crops to wilt, but a rain would refresh the lands and make them green and fruitful once again.
This is what God typically does in his grace. He brings about a new day, a time of restoration, a new beginning. Many times he even deals out even more bounty than one could imagine ever having gained.
Similarly, the Israelites were told that the Lord would restore what the locusts had eaten (Joel 2:25). They would find that God would deal "wondrously" with them and satisfy their desires.
This is what the people of God have experienced throughout time.
When a person repents of his sin and turns to God, they find that they see renewal and enrichment in their lives. New joy blossoms where old wounds had once existed.
Of course, this is not a flat out promise that God will give you mega millions or that the drunkard will definitely get his wife back. It is, however, a promise that the Lord will bring about a time of refreshing. He likes to plant gardens in the midst of ashes.
Take the apostle Paul as one example. He spent many an hour persecuting the church. That time of his life may have been misspent, but all was not lost. Nothing could compare to his post conversion years. He enjoyed no end of blessing as the Lord worked through him to bring light and life to much of the Western world.
Similar things happen in the lives of those who repent and turn to God today. Fathers often see new bridges built into his child's life. The Lord often turns the hearts of the children to their fathers when the heart of the father is turned to his children.
Then again, those fathers may experience the blessing of God in other ways. Think here of the thief on the cross. He lost much through his thieving. He squandered his very life in his love of wealth. Yet, when he looked to Christ, he gained exceedingly more than he could ask or imagine. Christ said to him, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." He found enrichment that far surpassed financial gain.
These might not necessarily be your regrets, but they do serve to show how the Lord typically works. Whatever your regret may be, your past does not need to rule you or pull you down. There is hope in what God can (and will) do.
In all, we recognize that God's grace is greater than all our sin. He is able to restore the fortunes of his people and bring about a wonderful times of refreshing.
The Court & the Church
On Sunday evenings in September (12, 19, & 26) John Sparks will lead a series on the church and the courts. John will walk us through several United States court cases which were significant for the church in the United States. Join us at 6 pm.
What is Reformed Theology?
Hopewell is a 'Reformed and family integrated church' in Ashland. But what exactly does that mean? This series by RC Sproul will help you gain an understanding of a few of the basic theological principles regarding the Reformed faith.