restoration, baptism, & other musings…

Yesterday our church family had a water baptism – within the larger church family our local church is a part of, water baptism is a celebration of the ‘new life’ that happens through Jesus Christ, & is an outward declaration of the inner-transformation taking place.

In the spring/summer, we use the river, & when its cold (meaning: winter) we use a local pool – NorthWest Pool is a fave. Family & friends are invited to be a part of the celebration – & for me, a highlight of the event is when each person being baptized gets an opportunity to share, out loud, WHY they’re choosing baptism, & the significance it has for them on this day.

Another favorite thing, if I’m one of the ‘dunkers’ (which I was yesterday,) is to pray a short prayer, a prayer of blessing over each person as soon as they come up out of the water – I like to freestyle – meaning: to pray what I hear in my heart – whatever gets stirred up by the Holy Spirit…

Yesterday, a series of Bible verses came up, over & over, all dealing with RESTORATION – just about every prayer – RESTORATION.

To me, its a reflection of God’s heart – the One who is gracious & compassionate, slow to anger, & rich in love. My mind is drawn to Joel 2, esp. verses 25-27 – where God promises His people that He will RESTORE to them what has been taken & lost – through their own choices, through atrocities & violations committed against them – God is the RESTORER; the One who makes all things new…

Something I’ve been learning over the last while is that working through grief over what has been lost isn’t a process that can be avoided or short-circuited. It can only be delayed… & from what I’ve experienced, un-mourned loss is like a credit card… it builds up, with compounding interest. And its easier to grieve something (& someone) in the here & now, than it is further down the road, separated by time & space from it.

I don’t want to dwell on loss & grief, but I’m not going to avoid it. Or deny it.

Actually, in the middle of the most bitter loss, the fiercest grief is one of the places I have sensed the deepest peace of God. And His comfort. The surety that He is with me, even in, especially at that time. And it doesn’t make the pain go away, but knowing He’s there is comforting.

So I’m holding onto restoration. On that note, here is a something that has been very personally significant to me on this:

What was lost in battle
What was taken unlawful
Where the enemy has planted his seed
And where health is ailin’
Where strength is failin’
I will restore to you all of this and more
I will restore to you all of this and more

I will restore, I will restore
I will restore to you all of this and more
I will restore, I will restore
I will restore to you all of this and more
I will restore to you all of this and more

Where your heart is breaking
And where dreams are forsaken
When it seems what was promised will not be given to you
And where peace is confusion
And reality an illusion
I will restore to you all of this and more

© w/m Richard Johnson

“I Will Restore”

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