“Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!”
(Psalm 80:3, ESV).
Things that drive me crazy:
Procrastination, disorganization, messing with “the plan” and the schedule, slow pokes, Play Doh colors all mixed together, shoes and jackets dropped in the middle of the kitchen floor, crowds, wet towels left on the sink and toothpaste stuck to the bathroom walls, markers with no tops.
Oh, and something else, too: Broken crayons. Even worse, crayons with the paper torn off. I mean, if you rip the paper off, the crayons are more susceptible to breaking. Plus, it’s difficult to tell whether you are holding blue, purple or black in your hand.
It’s enough to give a mom fits.
When my kindergartener told me that Show & Tell this week needed to be something recycled or reused, we started brainstorming. There was the orange juice carton we turned into a birdfeeder. The paper towel roll my oldest daughter made into Snow White. The Popsicle stick my middle girl turned into a pig. The Mason jar painted over and made into a candle holder.
Or we could find something to do with those pesky broken and naked crayons that drive me so crazy.
I spent this morning collecting the remnants of Crayola. Once beautiful, bright, pointy crayons fresh from the box—now broken, bespeckled, faded, and unwrapped.
We filled a tray of heart-shaped silicone with the jumble of brokenness, melted the wax, cooled it and then popped out beautiful new rainbow heart crayons.
God’s plan for restoring us in life is so often like melting down broken wax and transforming it into a uniquely colorful treasure with a beauty all its own.
We pray for restoration, hope for it, long for it with desperate hearts. We need the fixing, mending, healing power of God in our relationships, in our worship, in our churches, in our sick and hurting bodies, in our grief, in our finances, and more.
David needed it emotionally and knew that the Lord His Shepherd, “restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3). Later, He needed spiritual restoration after he committed adultery and murderer, as he prayed, “Restore to me the joy of my salvation” (Psalm 51:12).
What we usually long for in the midst of brokenness is full-circle restoration. We want what we once had, what Satan took from us, or what we’ve lost along our journey.
That’s what Israel prayed for when they were beseiged, starved, and taken captive: “Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21 ESV).
Give us back the good old days!
And it seemed like that’s exactly what God did. When Nehemiah returned to rebuild the ruins of the Jerusalem walls, he began at the Valley Gate (Nehemiah 2:13). Then, 52 days later, they finished the job and celebrated with choirs, corporate praise, rededication, and a procession that marched out through the gates they had rebuilt, starting with what scholars believe was the Valley Gate.
In Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break, Kelly Minter writes: “If God began Nehemiah’s journey at the broken Valley Gate and completed it at a restored one, we have reason to hope He will work with the same restorative power in our lives” (p. 151).
They had, after all, come full circle. This surely renews our hope.
And yet, this wasn’t exactly the same as what they had lost, and that’s also reason to rejoice! These were rebuilt walls, walls with a testimony. They showed God’s faithfulness to His people, bringing them back from captivity and helping them rebuild their land.
The rebuilt walls in our lives are also a testimony of God’s faithful lovingkindness and mercy. They can’t possibly be misunderstood or misinterpreted as walls pounded into place by our own ability and strength.
They are all about how God brought us back and helped us stand.
The best thing about God’s restoration is that He often does more than we expect. We want the same as the good old days. Many times, however, He gives us more than we had before or even something better.
He did this for Job, giving him “twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).
He does this for us, as Peter tells us:
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10, ESV).
He doesn’t just give us back the pieced-together remnants of our past; He restores us in a way that makes us stronger, and He does it Himself, stitching us back together with His own patient hand.
God doesn’t give up on the broken crayons in our lives or toss away those of us who’ve come unpeeled. He may melt us down and it may hurt, but He makes us new, beautiful, different, stronger, unique—restored for His glory and with a story to tell of His goodness.
Want to transform your broken crayons into something fun and new? There are some great “recipes” online, including this one here.
I don’t just have things that drive me crazy. Things can make me happy, too! Like:
Family time, baking with my girls, heartfelt worship, chocolate, hot tea with sugar, time with God at my kitchen table, words that are fun to say, holding my husband’s hand, triple word tiles in Scrabble, honeysuckle candles, free concerts on the beach in the summer time, my daughters giggling, the smell of fireplaces burning in autumn air, pumpkins, my small group, crossword puzzles, the perfect coupon, Masterpiece Classic and Masterpiece Mystery, brand new pointy crayons, fresh Play Doh, the Beatles, comfy white socks, Dickens and Shakespeare, British comedies, when the lights dim and the play starts, listening to my daughters read, a blank computer screen and the clicking of the keys as I fill it up with words.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King