We always sat in the same spot. First two seats on the front row, all the way on the left side of the room. We walked back to those seats after having dedicated our young son in front of our church family and we stood at those chairs years later as the pastor asked that same church family to pray over us as we prepared to move to a new city. Every week, those chairs stayed empty until we arrived to occupy them. We worshiped, prayed, hugged dear friends, and were fed spiritual truths all in those same chairs.
A few years back, the carpet those chairs sat atop needed replacing, and the church welcomed people to come and write scriptures and encouraging messages on the sub-flooring beneath. We drove a couple hours to add our voices and thoughts to this project. My son’s messages included “God is good” followed by approximately 17 exclamation marks, and a humorous drawing of him with a very, very tall man, representing the 7 foot tall (really!) pastor. I looked around and thought of how many powerful memories that mostly barren room held for us. I sat on the little square of floor where those two chairs had sat for so many years and wrote a promise I continue to cling to tightly: “I will restore the years the locusts have eaten”. My life, my marriage, my family had been ravaged by locusts. I sat on that hard concrete floor and wished my life felt as if it too, had that solid of a foundation. Writing those words reminded me, even in the midst of uncertainty and pain, that IT DOES. And so does yours. Immutable, immovable, unshakable truth isn’t changed by our current circumstances or our feelings, which often prove fickle.
“Even now, declares the Lord, return to Me with all your heart....”
Even in the middle of your divorce.... Even in the throes of addiction.... Even as you grapple with a diagnosis... Even as you struggle with the constant battle of depression... Even when it all hurts too much and you’re not even sure you trust God anymore....
Nearly three years have passed since I sat on that concrete floor and wrote that promise, and many days it still feels as though I’m rebuilding, re-planting, toiling, and still waiting for a fresh harvest. Redemption comes, but not always in our desired time frame. Restoration happens, but it doesn’t always look the way we pictured it. Waiting is hard. The in-between is hard. Surrender is hard...or, if you’re stubborn like me....really hard. While you’re waiting for that new season, that fresh harvest, make sure you’re not poisoning your crops. Cut out the bitter roots of resentment; the “secret” sin that fosters nothing but decay; the hate that makes the soil too hard for anything to grow; the unforgiveness that is nothing less than a fatal drought to everything you put your hand to. Rend your heart to Him, even now, and His promises are restoration, grace, compassion, and abundance.