Though many houses have been rebuilt, as Pam and I drive roads toward our neighborhood, we still see the starkness of the devastation of the Waldo Canyon Fire. A scar remains: matchstick blackened trees; rebuilding of homes; burned out, flood-vulnerable canyons. Our two year old grandson calls the foothills around our neighborhood the Pokey Mountains. I guess the trees look more like porcupine quills to a two year old! A similar picture could be taken of areas affected by the Black Forest Fire and other areas of the country affected by natural disasters.
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 groundcover . . . 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. He uses these difficulties in our lives to make us more like Him.
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?