Over the past few months, as Pam and I have driven the roads toward our burned neighborhood, we continue to be taken by the starkness of the devastation of the Waldo Canyon Fire. A scar still remains: matchstick blackened trees; rubble of homes left behind; burned out, flood-vulnerable canyons. And the scars go deeper as there are still 350 families in various stages of chaos in their efforts to rebuild. A similar picture could be taken of the East Coast in the wake of super-storm Sandy.
In the beginning, at the first creation, God received glory (and still does): fame and a heightened reputation, because He created the world “out of nothing.” Personally, in my creative activities, I’d rather start with a fresh canvas or a fresh patch of ground. Instead, it seems my creative efforts usually fall into the category of restoration: painting a room after trying to tear down the wallpaper, or planting bushes in ground filled with roots from old ground cover . . . or helping a young person who has already reaped the consequences of poor decisions.
Most of God’s creative efforts are restorative as well. He takes broken, burned out situations, and makes something new out of them. We live in a world that is desperately broken, dark, and filled with death. Good thing our God is a restoring God who takes great delight in rescuing, delivering, and making something new out of lives that are sin-stained and tarnished.
The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens . . . He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap (Ps. 113:4,7).
He provides for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
Do you struggle with the undeniable reality that God finds pleasure in working through life’s difficulties, rather than shielding us from them?