"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten...."Joel 2:25. "But, I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord." Jeremiah 30:17. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." Isaiah 43:18. "God is still a God of restoration and healing. No situation is too far gone for God to restore." Brian Logue. "Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn't know before you learned it." Maya Angelou. "After your season of suffering, God in all HIs grace will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you." I Peter 5:10.
"There are some things in your life that you thought would never get right, but God is going to make it right." Pastor Jenkins.
I think you may have guessed, understood or know by now, I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and every word contained therein is true. So, when I read that God will provide restoration I, of course, believe this, and I decided to probe a little deeper.
Restoration is defined as the act of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. Why do we need restoration? Simply put, to extend the life of an item to get additional use from it, to retrieve what was lost or stolen, etc. In other words, to make an item or a person whole (fully functioning again) and/or to feel fully accommodated or compensated for something that we may have lost because of our or some else's fault.
If you listen to court TV (which I love, especially Judge Judy), the goal is make the aggrieved party whole. For example, if the plaintiff claims that the defendant damaged their property in the amount of let's say $3,000, then that is what the court is seeking to grant the plaintiff as relief in an effort to make him/her whole. The plaintiff may think they should get $4,000 for the aggravation of filing a law suit, but that amount is above making him/her whole, and that amount will not be granted (at least not by Judge Judy).
"God is the only one that can redeem time." Pastor Robert Madu, Elevation Church. In 1963, my mother passed away during childbirth, leaving behind eight young children ranging in ages 3-13. On occasion, I did wonder why God would let this happen. Of course, my wonderings were put on hold or maybe even quashed when I went to live with my maternal grandmother, Evangelist Mary Jackman. She told me it was not my place to question God. She provided no explanation as to why I couldn't. In those days, you did not question adults either. Some of you know what I am talking about. So, I was left to make my own observations and conclusions.
I observed over time that life did happen to everyone; good, bad, or indifferent people. We all have a path to follow, and we do not know in advance how anything will play out. However, I did come to understand that some of our choices influenced our path. ("If you make your bed hard, you will lie in it." Evangelist Mary Jackman). I digress. There are many variables on this journey we call life; some we can control and some we cannot. I think right here I want to add the serenity prayer.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can, and
The wisdom to know the difference.
In 1963, people were busy trying to survive; working menial jobs for minimal pay, trying to feed the family and keep a roof over their heads. Attention to health care was probably not high on the list. To be honest, no one thought having a baby could be problematic. My mother, Jessie Mae Murdaugh, passed away giving birth to her 9th child, a stillborn baby boy. It was surreal. Before you take out the tissue and weep, don't. Somehow, God buffered me. I never felt despair. I cried years later. In fact, I comforted my father who was having a hard time with this loss. The only place I can fathom that this strength came from is all the prayers lifted on my behalf and on behalf of my siblings by my parents (Carl Purify Murdaugh and Jessie Mae Murdaugh) and grandparents (my grandmother let me know that she had prayed for each of her grandchildren before they were born). Thanks Evangelist Mary Jackman, Grandma and Rev. James Jackman, Grandpa. This speaks to the sovereignty of God. He gave me godly parents and grandparents because He knew the length of their days, and He knew me and my siblings would need a strong foundation. I am sure that God honored the prayers they sent up for their children.
When I transferred to a public elementary school in the Bronx (we went to live with my grandparents), the school tried to give me a free turkey for Thanksgiving (something about it being for poor families). I did not consider myself poor; of course I was. Fried fat back was eaten often in my house when I was living in Harlem with my parents. Truth be told, I really do not remember eating fried chicken. But, that fat back was on point. My grandmother could fry up a delectable chicken back. Anyway, I saw the school's gesture as pity, and to this day, I reject pity. Of course, I do understand compassion, empathy and kindness. But back then, it felt like I was being pitied and wanted no part of it. When my name was announced on the loud speaker to come to the office to get the turkey, I ignored them. Mrs. Glenn, the lady in charge of giving out the turkeys saw me later and told me she had a turkey in the office for me. I told her to give it to a poor family because I did not need it. She did not argue with me. Thank goodness. I had no other defense.
I knew early that I did not want to be singled out because of a misfortune in my life. I had been taught, and even though I did not quite understand, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:20. Also, my grandmother (a woman of few words) once told me not to hold onto something so tight that I could not let it go. She said everything belongs to God. Once again, she did not go deeper into it. But, I have come to realize that I brought nothing into this world when I was born, and whatever I have is on loan from God; and I must learn to love and appreciate what He has allowed me to have for as long as He allows me to have it. That goes for everyone and everything, including people, places and things. "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." 1 Timothy 6:7. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein..."Psalm 24:1-3.
Back to my topic, restoration. One day recently, I was making an observation, I had not really put a lot of thought into it. My oldest granddaughter was turning thirty-three years old (I am dating myself I suppose, but what of it, I am glad to be here), and my youngest grandchild is two, and at the thought of this I became a little emotionally overwhelmed. My mother did not get to see this with her children; she was thirty-three at the time of her passing. But God in His mercy allowed her child (me) to see this amazing circle of life. Restoration for my mother had come through me and my siblings. The Lord paid it forward. God is sovereign and He works in mysterious ways; but for sure He works to bring about wholeness in our lives.
I do not know why God allowed my mother to depart so soon or why He allowed me to be here to witness this amazing circle of life, but I do know that God has a plan for our lives in accordance with His will, and it is the best plan for our lives in spite of our actions. I know that we are to live our best life, one that is dedicated to God and to pay forward the love and blessings that God has given us in this life. Prayerfully, the next generation will see the goodness and mercies of God and follow suit. Grandma, I want you to know while I did not understand everything you were trying to teach me, I did get it when you said I could not live this life without Christ. You spoke the truth. I am paying it forward with my children and grandchildren and to anyone I meet or teach. Thank you for the loving the Lord and passing this love on to me.
Sometimes we bring locusts into our lives because of our behavior. Locusts are symbolic of the hardships, trials, and storms that come our way. Sometimes they are there to test our faith. For the children of Israel, it was real locusts. Either way, you need a plan of action. In the case of the scripture above where God declares that He will restore the years that the locusts have eaten; He is talking to Israel; He had sent the locusts. He is calling them to repentance. Their land had been destroyed as a result of sin and rebellion. God called for them to repent, turn from their ways and seek Him, and He would restore them. What's going on in your life? Check it. Get it together, if you need to make some changes, then do it. Are your locusts self-inflicted?
Search your heart and your actions to make certain that you are not bringing locusts into your life. Take care of your health. This temple that God gave us is not to be taken for granted. Nutrition and exercise go a long way towards a healthy mind and body. We live in a world where we do get sick and grow old. Take care of yourself. If you need to see the doctor, go; if you need medication, get it and take it. Start a fitness routine and stick with it. Eat healthily!
Ditch grudges and unforgiveness; they will do you in quicker than physical ailments because they will make you physically sick. Learn to forgive. God wants to restore your life, but you may have to get rid of some of the things that are blocking the blessing He has in store.
Don't worry about what the enemy stole from you. God has the power to give it back to you, and the enemy won't know how you got it back. "God will restore what the enemy stole." Steven Furtick. Turn it over to the Lord. Release the stress that it has been causing you.
There is a saying and I subscribe to it: "It is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain." Perhaps there is a reason or a lesson you need to learn from the locusts. The "locusts" might remain until you get the lesson. Perhaps the Lord wants to bring you closer to Him. Seek the Lord's intervention immediately. No need to hang out in a storm any longer than you have to. Remember, God's got you. Dance, Praise, Pray, Dance!
Get right with God. Seek Him first in all you do. "But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33. Trust Him in all things. Proverbs 3:5-6.
Pay it forward. Share your story with someone. Share what God has done for you with someone else. Invite someone else to partake in the goodness of God. These simple acts may be God's way of bringing restoration into some else's life. Do it please! Do it now!
Life is a journey with many twists and turns. It is wonderful to know that we do not have to do it alone. God is willing and able to hold our hand and walk with us through it. To this I say amen and to God be the glory! "Finally, brother and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you." II Corinthians 13:11.
MY TRIBUTE TO MOTHER SARAH TURNER; A LIFE WELL-LIVED.
On May 13th, 2022, I attended the Home Going Celebration for Mother Sarah Turner who departed this earth at the age of 106. What a celebration! What a life! Mother Turner always had a broad, sweet smile and a warm embrace. Her favorite greeting was, "To God Be the Glory!" Mother Turner, you reminded me that my grandmother was right, Jesus will take you all the way from earth to heaven to spend eternity with Him. Your inspiration and dedication to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ inspired me tremendously and will continue to inspire me and my family and the community forever. Thank you for your love, devotion, and steadfastness. I know you are somewhere around God's throne, smiling and dancing in the presence of the Lord. You will always be a cherished memory. Well done Mama Turner!!! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Thank you for faithfully reading this blog. I pray that you are being blessed. Your support is important to me, and I am so grateful. Just a reminder, you can comment at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you have a question that you want answered, please send it to AskYvette1@gmail.com
May God richly bless you in all that you do.