Making Redemption Personal

Gwen Smith Broken into Beautiful, Devotions, Forgiveness, Freedom, Grace, Grief, Healing, Knowing God by Name, Peace, Salvation, Trials, Trusting God, Worship Leave a Comment

God can restore any life. It’s true. I say this with confidence because I’m a girl who’s experienced His restoration in deeply personal ways.

When I was in college, I loved Jesus, but I loved my own plans more than the ones laid out in His Word. I played Hokey Pokey with my believing and my behaving and it wrecked me big. To the extent that I wasn’t sure if God could, or would even want to, forgive me.

Ultimately, I learned this: no matter how broken life seems, Jesus restores and redeems. It’s who He is. It’s what He came for. From the garden to the grave, the Lord woos with a love that heals.

In the beginning, when rebellion collided with perfection and darkened the hearts of humanity, God set in motion a plan of redemption. His plan was Jesus – the one who gives beauty for ashes, comfort for mourning, and freedom to the shackled.

Scripture introduces us to a guy who experienced God’s redemption in deep ways. His name was Job. Job was a good man. I mean a really good man. No joke – the Bible says so! This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1b). He lived life the right way. He honored God, loved his family and was both faithful and patient. Good man.

You’d think that because Job was such a standup guy, he’d pretty much have a cake life, right? SO not right. Let me just say this: good-guy-Job went through some stuff. We are talking major big-league stuff.

He had it all and then lost it all: his children, his wealth and his health. Gone. In a blink.

Don’t just skim over that last sentence. This man lost his children. They died.

All ten of them… at the same time.

I can’t even fathom the thought of losing one of my children, let alone all of my children. Job knew broken on levels most of us will never come close to knowing.

He knew ashes. He knew mourning. He knew darkness. He knew weary.

On the front end of the pain He had faith. Big faith. He gave God the benefit of the doubt. He held on to his integrity, accepted his circumstances and blessed the name of the LORD in spite of the horror he endured. And he worshiped! Can you believe he worshiped?

Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing
(Job 1:20b-22).

Job went through loss after loss, test after test and friend-with-bad-advice after friend-with-bad-advice who spoke condemnation instead of comfort. All that and his wife wanted him to “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9b) Nice.

Job was in anguish (Job 6:2, 7:11). Understandable! He wanted to die because the pain was so unrelenting (Job 6:9-10). He called out to God and asked Him to reveal where he had gone wrong. Then he repented of the sins he knew he had committed.

He lamented, stomped his feet a bit, got a smidge sassy and frustrated with God, and he wondered if God cared. Then God answered his complaints, corrected his heart, and set the wheels in motion for one of the most amazing shows of redemption the world has ever seen.

God shined light into his darkness – spoke gladness to his mourning – and brought beauty to his ashes. He redeemed Job’s life from the dark pit of broken. After which Job humbly and whole-heartedly worshiped the Lord with a heightened reverence.

Following the healing, Job worshiped God as his Redeemer. He was the first in Scripture to ever call God his Redeemer. For I know that my Redeemer lives (Job 19:25).

God also calls Himself our Redeemer in Scripture. Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob (Isaiah 60:16).

God is all about redemption. His love for humanity runs deeper than the deepest recesses of our depravity. The love of God runs farther than your past – higher than your disappointments – wider than your heart wounds and deeper than a cavernous pit of depression. And His plan of redemption is for every person – no matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve been through, no matter what you’ve done.

Where are you with the redemptive grace of Jesus?

Are you ready to exchange your ashes for His beauty? What would that look like for you?

Let’s call out to Him as Redeemer and confess our messes to the Lord, choosing to receive His healing love that restores all the broken.

 

Dear Lord,
My Redeemer, I’m here. I’m still. Please reveal anything in my heart that needs restoring. (Pause to listen and reflect.) I confess these sins to You: ________________ and I ask that You remove them as far as the east is from the west. Thanks for restoring me with Your grace.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

Read and pray through Psalm 25.

Where do you find yourself when it comes to the redemption of Jesus?

Have a beautiful, grace-filled day, friend.
GWEN

 

PS. We dropped a new Graceologie Podcast episode yesterday with Lara Casey! Here’s some of what we talk about:
Women often feel like they have to have it all together in order to live a meaningful life. Instead they feel inadequate, overwhelmed, and exhausted as they figure out how to do it all. Lara offers this advice: “We can’t do it all, and do it well. But, we can choose to cultivate what matters.”

If you find yourself needing a fresh reminder that the Creator of the wildly massive universe is also the God of personal redemption, restoration and even God of the impossible, then you’re gonna love this episode with Lara.

Also, I had a great conversation last week about angels, art and the beauty of worship with my friend Anne Neilson on the latest Graceologie Podcast episode. Give it a listen on my website or on you podcast app!

 

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