God has given us the most precious picture of restoration right here on earth. In each and every physical body he has provided a perfect vehicle in which to show the power of salvation and ability to make new the old and broken.
Isn't this picture the most beautiful you can imagine? Just look at your own life.
When I look back on my life I see the destruction I brought upon myself. Physically and spiritually. Physically I took my body for granted. I ate whenever, whatever. I over-ate at times and under-ate at others. I didn't build up my body with the healthiest or most beneficial of foods. I didn't challenge my body to grow in strength. I thought little of my health. I had it, so what did I need to worry about?
Have you ever slipped into this complacency? Can you relate to the error in my ways?
It took losing all I had in my physical body to understand how precious a gift I had. My body had to be ripped down to nothing, stripped of its strength and size so it couldn't be dependent on itself. My weight had to fall to dangerously low numbers. My legs had to throb with each step. I had to lose my healthy body so that I could see what it is I had.
I had to be marvelously ruined.
When I look at the trajectory of my struggle I am struck by the parallels I see between my physical journey and my spiritual journey. The outward journey that has been displayed in my physical body has been a mirror image of the inward journey that has taken place within the recesses of my soul, at the core of my being, in my innermost spirit.
That too had to be marvelously ruined.
The spiritual journey downward was subtle at first, small steps down the wrong path. But over time the divide between the road I should have been following and the one I had ended up on became so expansive that it was undeniable. I was in a state of rebellion against God, my parents and obedience to the Biblical standards laid out in scripture. I was walking my own path and in the process, destroying my life: relationships, commitments, integrity, honesty, joy, peace... they all became burnt out remnants of what they had once been. I was a hypocrite, a liar, selfish and living deep in sin. I had destroyed all the goodness that had once been in my life. All of the wonderful blessings that God had bestowed on me were squandered away in what I thought was my right to live life the way I wanted. In the end, it left me in a state of chaos, bound by sin and living a life of repeated destructive behaviors.
My life went up in flames. And then it went crumbling to the ground. Ashes.
And when there was nothing left God was able to break in. He was able to rebuild.
He had to let destruction take hold so that my faulty foundation could be scrapped away. The tearing down of my life was needed so that a new, better, stronger structure could take its place. A new structure, built by the hands of God, built on his word and designed by his loving hand. My construction had been built with my own human effort. In the end my lack of architectural know-how became abundantly apparent. And that is when the whole thing went crashing down.
My spiritual life had to go through a state of tearing down before it could be rebuilt. My body had to be stripped of all its resources before it could be refilled with heavenly resources and Godly strength.
This journey has been a long one. It has been trying at times. But not for a moment would I trade a second of it. Being marvelously ruined has been the greatest blessing I have ever received. I can't imagine one better. I can't imagine a love more divine then the love God has poured out on me in my darkest hours, at my absolute lowest points.
This is the beauty of restoration. We can make a mockery of God. We can ruin the very lives he has given us. We can squander all of the blessings he has poured out on us. And yet, he forgives. He restores. He rebuilds.
He can make us beautiful again. He can restore our bodies and restore our souls. He can take all of the darkness of our spirit and transform it into something beautiful. He can wipe clean the slate of sin we have filled with our rebellious, selfish, disobedient living and make it pristine again. He can make us new.
In our bodies he can rebuild the muscles we have let waste away. He can heal our suffering ligaments, tendons and bones that have become broken and frail. He can breathe new life into the painful, dark places within that have left us suffering. If we have neglected to take care of our physical beings he is there, ready and willing to be the strength we need on the road to tending to our temple.
He desires to restore your body and spirit so that it is at its best. He created you for strength, endurance, wellness and wholeness so that you can travel to all the places God has in store for you. He wants you to be a well-oiled machine that can travel along the road with him without sputtering out and breaking down. He needs you to be at your peak so that you can keep up with his big plans!
He can restore you physically. He can make you whole again. And, most importantly, he can do the same in your spiritual body. He can make it new. No matter how far away you have fallen or how much destruction has taken place, he can rebuild. This is the beauty of Jesus on the cross. He came to restore you, make you whole and save you from the messes you've made. Aren't you thankful?