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28 May, 2013

On a journey . . . .

I have fond memories of many journeys I have taken through the years.   Both in the United States and on the continent of Africa I have had wonderful opportunities to take journeys to new places, to experience new people, new sites and new sounds.   Journeys are enjoyable, they often provide me with opportunities to learn about and then reflect on something new.  

My recent journey is one of understanding more of my God, Who desires to bring restoration.  

When I hear the word restoration referred to in today’s world, it is quite often associated with one of the following:
     -  Restoring a house to a condition it once was
     -  Restoring a prized possession, often a car, into the condition as it was originally built
     -  Restoring habitat of fish or wildlife, that they might once again have what they need       
               to survive

With the thought of restoration, comes the realization that something is “broken,” something “isn’t right,” something needs to be returned to its original condition due to one or more reasons.  Restoration is needed because of neglect, because of age or because of numerous other reasons.  Regardless of the reason, there is within us a desire to bring restoration in order to restore value or function in something that is “broken.”

In order for restoration to take place there must be recognition that something is “broken,” something  isn’t right.  Once we’ve identified there is a need, it takes resources, significant effort and time invested to bring restoration. One of the key first steps in many restoration projects is a bit of tearing down or removal of some part or parts of the project being restored.   

Bringing restoration to the things we love so dearly is important. However. even more important is recognizing the need for restoration in our relationships with others, even our relationship with God.   We live in a world of relationships in need of restoration. Relationships which are not right.  Relationships that have been broken due to circumstances, words said or words not said.  

Restoration is not just about the actions of doing what is right to restore the relationship.  In order to bring true, lasting restoration there must be a deeper change in us.   Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Wild at Heart Boot camp put on by Ransomed Heart Ministries (ransomedheart.com).   During one of the sessions John Eldredge, shared,  If restoration does not reach our heart, we will not be successful.  Restoration comes as the result of a heart change, not an outward change in behaviors, actions.  Restoration in relationship with God and others can only come through a change in our heart. 

A heart change takes time, commitment, work, brokenness, recognition of the need for some “tearing down” and removal of hindrances to heart change which we have in our lives!  If there is not first a recognition of the need for a heart change, then no amount of time, commitment or actions can bring about restoration in our earthly relationships. The same is true, more importantly, in our relationship with God Himself.  A heart that that has truly been refocused, renewed and restored is a heart that has experienced the forgiveness of Christ.

As I continue to ponder these thoughts, I have been asking myself the following questions:
    -  What relationships in my life need restoration? 
    -  What am I willing to “invest” in order to bring about restoration in these relationships?
    -  What I willing to “invest” in order to allow God to bring restoration in my relationship            
           with Him?   

Restoration is a journey.  A journey I am travelling.    At times it is a difficult, yet necessary journey in order to bring all of my relationships back into a state of wholeness, the state in which God intended them to be.   

On the journey with Him,