What if every time you wrapped up a prayer, “fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the [casserole you just pulled out of the oven? Idk. Insert your own relevant text here.]?” Would that be awesome?!? Or scary?!? Or totally freaky?!? Yes, it would be all of those things. I was kind of stuck on thinking about that until I reached verse 13, which in my NLT version reads like this: “At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues … like global pandemics … among you.” Ok, I inserted “like global pandemics,” but in my mind, that’s kind of how I read it. Following that is a verse that many of us have read before. It’s a pretty famous Scripture in the Bible, and I had the honor of hearing one of our YWAM leaders speak on this verse for an entire week. Like, his entire ministry is built around verse 14:
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
As we are seeing (sort of) the light at the end of coronavirus, I can’t help but wonder how many prayers are being answered right now. But some of those prayers weren’t answered right away. It took millions of other prayers, actions and humbling conversations to get through this pandemic. And while we are seeing some healing, we are not and may never be anywhere near the people we were pre-COVID-19.
I’ve had to check my heart a million and one times during this past year and a half. I’ve said some nasty things. I’ve denied out loud lots of feelings I’ve had in my heart. I’ve tried to convince God that I’m justified or deserving or just plain exhausted and can’t help myself, but He knows I have a hateful side. That side that points fingers and accuses and says things like, “I will NEVER speak to so-and-so again,” or “I NEVER want to go back to the US again.” Things like that, that I don’t really mean, but in the moment, I feel like I do.
We all can feel this way, and God knows we do. We can’t hide it from Him, so we may as well figure out what to do with it when we experience it, and this verse says it all: humble yourself. Pray. Seek God’s face. He will hear, and most importantly, He will forgive and restore. I wish I could highlight RESTORE, but I’m on my phone with a portable keyboard that doesn’t do much but type. But seriously, if there is one word I could emphasize most in this whole chapter it would be RESTORE. God restores. If you have something weighing you down, give it to God. He restores. If you are broken (and a bit stubborn), humble your dang self, and go to God. You’ll see. Even if you don’t believe, you’ll see. He restores. He will shine lights on pathways you didn’t know existed. He will sort out problems that have kept you up for days. He will give you peace a beyond understanding about experiences that have haunted you for years. He restores.
Writing prompt: He restores
Write about something with which you struggle and give that sucker to God today. Ask Him for restoration in your writing. Humble your heart. Pray. Be completely honest. He restores.