On a trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast, I witnessed a beach restoration project. The beach, seriously eroded by high winds and surging waves caused by tropical storms, had all but disappeared. In fact, the coast had washed away to the point that high tide threatened the beachfront properties.
The Atlantic Ocean stole the sand, and then released it in a nearby waterway. So much sand had been dumped there that the depth of the waterway was reduced, threatening the safe passage of ships and fishing boats.
The restoration process was fascinating to watch. A dredge, situated on the water, sucked sand from the sand bar. The sand was then flushed through connecting pipes to various points along the beach where workers on Bobcats spread it. Little by little, the beach was replenished to its former beauty and the pass became safe again.
My soul felt like that beach, seriously eroded.
Following weeks of disruptions to normal life and routines because of Covid-19, I’d slipped away from God as surely as the sand had slipped from the beach. Not that noticeable to begin with because I put up a good fight. When the pandemic first struck, I made sure to keep some structure to my days.
But as the days wore on with no clear end in sight, I grew weary. Impatience, worry, irritation, and even anger stalked me. The already loose structure of my days crumbled to the ground, former good habits tumbling into the debris. Stripped of words, I couldn’t write, although I became a “Words with Friends” champ.
I hoped the beach would remedy that. But instead of writing, I spent hours contemplating the quiet. This brought on the guilt. Why didn’t I have the perseverance to stick to a regular writing schedule as most of my writing friends did?
As I enumerated my failures, God spoke. It’s okay to take a break from work, I heard Him say. It’s far more important to cultivate a relationship with Me. His presence was comforting, and my soul longed for Him to stay.
“He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:3 NKJV
The beautiful words in Psalm 23 indicate three components of restoration: rest, reflection, and replenishment. As I watched the glorious sand shoot out of those pipes bringing the beach back to life, I realized I needed the same thing. I asked God to restore me, to bring me back to life.
The most well-known use of the word restore in the Bible is probably Psalm 23, but the verb appears 1,060 times in the Old Testament. According to one old testament dictionary, restore suggests a “movement back to the point of departure.”
That’s where the sand was headed with the help of the dredge, back to its original point. That definition applied to me, too. God brought me back to my point of departure before the pandemic: firmly in His presence.
God was restoring me before I knew I needed it. He led me to a time of rest. He gave me hope through a restoration of His creation. And He provided me the stillness to feel His presence and hear His voice as I reflected on His work in my life.
Rest assured, God will always welcome your return. He desires to bring you back to Him, no matter how far you’ve strayed. Hear His promise in Hosea 14:4:
“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely for my anger has turned away from them.” (NIV)
Copyright © 06/11/20 Candyce Carden, used with permission.