“...and after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:10
Our pastor loves to restore cars, especially Volvos. He will work for weeks on a car, fixing and replacing, tinkering until it is roadworthy once again. An expensive hobby for sure, but one that he is good at and that brings him great joy and peace. When he looks upon a battered and broken Volvo, he doesn’t get discouraged at the awful condition it’s in, because in his mind, he can already see the finished product. You plunk an old worn-out piece of scrap metal down in front of him and he is one happy camper!
Me? I don’t see it. If you were to offload an old, broken-down Volvo into my driveway, I would probably come out yelling. What am I supposed to do with this?? It’s in my way!!! It doesn’t even work!! How am I going to carry on with my life, I can’t even get out of my driveway?? Why do I have to have this??
Unfortunately, I am also guilty of approaching life’s situations in the same way. I am so fixated on the problem that I can’t see how God is using it in my life. I’m focused on the BROKENNESS rather than the RESTORATION. And that’s easy to do, isn’t it? There will always be a point in our lives where we have a seemingly insurmountable circumstance. Something will always happen that will knock the wind right out of us, and it doesn’t seem that there’s relief in sight.
I just finished a book called “When God Doesn’t Fix it”, by Laura Story (the composer of the award-winning song “Blessings”). She was hit with an unexpected and life-altering circumstance when her husband suffered a brain tumor, and she talks about how she was waiting for God to wrap up her happy ending in a tidy little bow, but that never happened. So she’s still in the middle of the trenches, putting one foot in front of the other, surviving the difficulties on a day-by-day basis and learning a new normal. She says that she didn’t gain peace until she stopped asking the “Why” questions and turned them into “How” questions. Instead of “Why is this happening?”, she started asking “How is God using this?” Instead of “Why didn’t God heal my husband?”, she started asking “How can we use this disability to glorify God?” or “How can we use this story to help others?” or even “How can God use this to reveal His truths to me?”
As Laura recommended in the book, I wrote down some of the difficult “Why” questions of my heart. I even wrote the tough questions that I was secretly harboring because I felt guilty asking them out loud. God knows them anyway, right? And as Laura said, some of them just didn’t have answers this side of heaven. We just don’t know what God’s big picture is. But then I turned each “Why” question into a “How” question, and I found that if I look past the brokenness and helplessness of the situation, I can find some way that God can use what’s happening for good. Maybe it’s to teach me patience. Maybe it’s to learn to trust Him. Maybe it’s to help someone else. Maybe...maybe the beauty will rise from the ashes later, and I will need to hang tight and trust God’s Great Plan to be revealed in His time.
I know it’s not easy to see the good in a horrible situation, especially when the circumstance is so dark and painful that we can hardly lift our heads to see the glimmer of light. But just like an old broken-down car is made new again, we are being made new--even more-so, because we are being repaired by the God of RESTORATION, who loves us and is working on our behalf. He specializes in making things new!
Try turning your “Whys” into “Hows” this week. I’m praying you will find peace in the restoration and hope in the Restorer.