Becky and I heard this song for the first time on Saturday night. It's been going through my mind ever since. At first, I thought that the lyrics were more about asking God to bring restoration. Quite possibly, the worship leader I heard started with the lament and cry to God, only to be reminded of the effects of the Gospel. There was an expectancy when the first few words were belted out among the silence. It built and built as people immediately agreed with the plea, "Bring restoration to my soul!" It builds into just an all-out shout of the effects of grace on the heart and life of a child of God and the final assertion, "You bring restoration. You bring joy!"
The title of the song is restoration.
As I said, I've been singing it for days. In the car, randomly in the office, while waiting in line at the gas station, and even this evening while I was trying to get my nose decongested in the sauna. My daughter has even caught on, "Dad, you really like that song... what's restoration?" I've been singing about the glories of the gospel not only into my soul but into the little soul of Bella.
It's got me thinking...
Sin is so twisted, first and foremost. We have such an innate tendency to rip, destroy, and offend because of sin. Each day is a sobering reminder of the fallen state of the world around us that groans, as Paul says in Romans, for the day when the final redemption and restoration will occur. In order to pray for restoration and be graced by it, one must recognize that there is a breach that must be restored.
Before restoration, there must be recognition.
Recognition of sin. Recognition of His holiness. Yet, it is that kindness, the covenantal loyal love of God, that brings about repentance.
Restoration starts with repentance.
What does that look like? Consider David who after ten verses of confession said,
Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me... ...Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:11-12
Consider Peter's sermon, after the sinless life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things about which God spoke by the holy prophets long ago. Acts3:19-21.
Did you catch that? Jesus, until the time for restoring all things... Jesus is restoring. Jesus will bring finality to restoration.
This Thanksgiving, we're so thankful for the great exchange through the cross. We're so thankful for the covenantal loyal love of God displayed and lavished upon us in Christ Jesus. He, the sinless and innocent, taking on the robes, weight, and wrath of my sin. Further still, giving us as part of this new covenant robes of righteousness, a crown of gladness, dancing, laughing, and ultimate joy. Even further still, He has placed us in a family where the mission is to allow others to experience this same unending joy. We're so thankful that He is making all things new.
We had such a sweet time of worship on Saturday night, praying for the Lord to bring restoration and then boasting in the restoration of the gospel. Though I didn't audibly hear people confessing sin, I know that it was happening. I didn't hear people do the David in Psalm 51 or anything like that, but I do know that as a corporate body of worshippers there was this rhythm--awe of God's holiness, awareness of the depths of our sin, greater awareness of His grace, mercy, and love and then rivers of restoration and prayers that its waters would wash over others. As we prepare to celebrate this Advent Season--one eye on the first coming of the Suffering Servant and the other on the soon coming Warrior King--my prayer is for nothing less than restoration.