The Promise of Restoration - Part 4 of Walking Through Grief with the 23rd Psalm

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

still waters
"He leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul." Psalm 23:2b-3

One of the hardest aspects of losing a loved one is the fact that life will never be the same again. As I have said before, you never get over it. You may adjust and life will go on, but never as it was before. There may be some aspects of life that have some sort of familiarity, but the reality is that without your loved one, everything changes. The challenge is to learn to live in the new normal.

I want to tell you that you will make it through this. For now it may seem like grief drives your daily life, but in time and with God's help, your grief will take a backseat and you will once again find yourself in the driver's seat. How do I know this? First, I have experienced it first-hand and I have watched countless others around me do the same so I can say you will too. Second, God has given you his solemn promise in Psalm 23 that he will personally walk you through it in two phases - he will lead you beside still waters and he will restore your soul.

The first step will be the calming of the water. I want to take you back to a story of how Jesus calmed a storm in Matthew 8:23-27.
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
There are a lot of similarities between this story and the sudden loss of a loved one. You are living your life with Christ only to suddenly find yourself smack dab in the middle of a storm that threatens to drown you. On top of that it appears that God is asleep in your boat completely unaware of or indifferent to your ordeal. That is what grief can feel like.

I don't believe that Jesus was unaware nor was he indifferent to the plight of his disciples. I believe he is showing us something powerful about what happens when we find ourselves fighting for our lives in the midst of storms.

The first thing he wants us to know is that when your storm comes, you will not find him wringing his hands wondering what he's going to do now. He knew it was coming and that's why he makes sure he is right there in the boat with you. It may appear that he isn't around but we need to remember that he has been right there all along.

Second, at the very moment when we think we are going to drown, he steps in and with one word, calms the waters. The disciples spent several hours trying to row that boat back to shore only to get nowhere. It was when they had exhausted all human effort to deal with their storm that Jesus was able to do what they couldn't. He doesn't get a kick out of watching us flounder and panic. I think he allows us to come to the realization of just how much we need him in our moment of loss. When you find yourself desperately rowing in the middle of a raging storm, certain that you are about to drown, put the oars down and simply ask the one who has been right there with you all along to say the word and he will lead you beside still waters.

Finally, God promises that he will restore your soul. The promise of restoration is not a promise to simply put you back to normal. God never just picks up the broken pieces of our lives and simply glues them back together. The promise of restoration is actually a promise to recreate us and to make us new again. He won't just fill the holes in your walls and paint over them. He won't fill the cracks in your foundation so it looks like new. No, he will rebuild you with a stronger foundation and new walls. You will never get over your loss, but his promise to you is that you will become stronger as a result. Though it seems utterly impossible right now that you will love, laugh and live again, I can tell you that you will and as you look back on this time one day, you will be amazed and say, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Listen to this song and let it encourage you today as you walk through your grief.

 
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