Thursday, July 9, 2009

Restore and Rebuild

I have been reading in the book of Ezra this week and I must confess it is not usually a favorite stop on my journey through scripture. Today I was struck by how Ezra wanted to "repair the walls" and "restore the foundations" of the temple. I started thinking about how often men get off track, how they lose their foundation and find themselves with broken walls and in need of repair. I thought about how difficult it is to stand with a brother whose very foundation is broken, even if that brother wants desperately to be restored and rebuilt. Our foundation as believers is crucial. It is hard to rebuild once broken. Ezra and Nehemiah faced intense opposition as they endeavored to rebuild the walls. It was like a battle. Guards were posted to fight the enemy next to others who did the building. It would have been far easier for the walls to not need repair in the first place. You see, the walls of Jerusalem were broken because of the Children of Israel's disobedience that led to ruin. If the Children of Israel had obeyed they would not have been taken into captivity and would not have needed restoration and rebuilding. That is true in the lives of many believers who are taken captive. God can and does restore but it is not easy. A broken believer loses so much. Trust is eroded. Relationships are affected and those left in the wake can struggle to make sense of it. There is a desire to rebuild that which was broken but it is hard to regain that same place that had been. The picture is not all bleak though. God is the ultimate restorer. Ezra and Nehemiah overcame all opposition and the building was completed. Much like that work is the work God and the body of Christ do in the life of the believer. When other believers come alongside and speak belief and faith against all opposition that comes there is restoration. When the body of Christ lift each other up and refuse to admit defeat, calling upon God, then walls can be rebuilt. When we let patience have her perfect work, then believers become 'perfect and entire', whole and complete. Rebuilding and Restoring is part of what we do for one another, how we show our love to each other and to Christ. It is part and parcel of the story of redemption. It is about the mission of God to set those who are captive, free.

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