Down the street from our house is an empty lot. It wasn’t always empty. Once there stood a house. A family lived here. They fed the deer in our neighborhood, so we always saw our deer herd in their yard or on their porch. They had a red car and a brick house. One day, as we were driving by, we looked over and the house was gone.
We knew the family had moved out a few weeks prior. We knew it had been for sale, but when the house suddenly disappeared, it was strange. The land looked barren and empty. And sad. I felt sad for that house. Sure, it was probably old and needed to come down. Yes, the family was fine and safely moved into another house. But for some reason, when they tore that house down I felt a deep sense of sadness.
Maybe I felt that way because two years ago, God tore down my “house” and left what I felt like an empty lot. I’m starting to rebuild, in the same space, so the empty lot down the street saddens me. I wonder if some people might feel like a house torn down. It can be the big things like a death, a diagnosis, or a time of depression. Grief feels like a wrecking ball and our walls are all broken to pieces, not to mention our heart.
The cemetery has a deeper meaning for me these days. With friends who have buried children, husbands, mothers, and fathers, I wonder if the teary prayers I pray are reaching Him. How can I help my friends rebuild? Maybe with prayers, notes, text messages, and encouragement. Today my friendships look different than during childhood, teenage and even college years.
But when I look at my own life, I have repairs to make. I am still building my life and sometimes a wall or bedroom gets knocked down and I feel the cold of the outside air. Change takes its toll on us. It can wreck our perfectly built houses until we feel like it is all crumbling around us again.
God is picking up the wrecking ball again, in my own life, and restoration is definitely the goal. It isn’t destruction. Listen to me: God is not out to destroy, but restore. My heart needs this reminder today. I need to pray to my God, asking for heavenly vision to see His work as spiritual work on my life instead of ruining the pieces I’ve put back together.
God is here in our midst, friend. He is allowing the hurt, pain, and fear. But He is using it for His glory. For HIS glory, not mine. It isn’t about comfort, but growth. Growth is beautiful at the end, but remember it can be painful. I’m not the empty lot at the end of our road. There is no house built there and its been over a year. Maybe the neighbor houses bought it to expand their yard, but either way I’m not going to be that empty lot. I’m not going to sit by and let my life not count. God is picking up the pieces, and I’m going to open my hand and offer to Him the pieces Ive been clinching. I’m going to let Him build.
Psalm 74:12 – Yet God my King is from old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
God is not sitting by. Even during seasons of waiting, God is working. He is striving, moving, building, and restoring – why? To work salvation. In my life and in the life of others.
Here are the steps I’m taking today to begin restoration in our life:
1. Stay close to God. Not easy when we feel like He has been the reason our heart hurts. Abide through the hard. Read His Word. Pray. Even when you don’t “feel” like it. Find your home in Him while He builds.
2. Cry it out. I mean that literally. Cry if you need to. Mourn and feel the grief. But cry to Jesus as well. God is listening and He can bear your burdens. He is vast in His love for you, cry to Him.
3. Remember the blueprints. Look for how God is working today. Maybe write down all of the ways God is working, maybe behind the scenes. Think of an apple seed. It doesn’t become a tree overnight, but it grows even under the soil. How can God be growing you right now, today? And remember God is always planning and preparing a way for us!
4. Look at your progress. Look back and take note of how God has grown you. You are not who you were – but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Think of how you’ve grown spiritually in the past few weeks or months since demolition has started. Get out our notebook or a piece of paper. Write it out. See the growth in black and white!
5. Get out your hammer. You might have to do some work. Maybe join a class. Get up earlier to do devotional and Bible study. God might be calling you to get back into a body of local believers. Or maybe God has some work for you to do with a counselor. No matter what, He invites us to join us as He rebuilds what has been torn down. Work with Him as He restores.
Don’t forget this last step: PRAISE HIM. “We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.” Psalm 75:1 His name is near. Hold it close to your heart friend. I’m praying for you. Send me your request, I would love to pray specifically.