Psalm 126:4-6 (NLT)
Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.
It popped up on my timeline and at first, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Sometimes God moves our mountains and sometimes God says, “Take another lap.” Credit for that little nugget goes to Nicki Koziarz. This sentiment did not get the usual likes from all my friends like some of the others I have shared and rightfully so. Endurance is not as popular as “look what the Lord has done.” We want all that the Lord has promised us but the process we could do without. The mountain in our life has been standing by our son as he valiantly, bravely and faithfully has battled cancer. I hate that disease with every fiber of my being. It is from satan because it most certain meets his purpose to “steal, kill and destroy.” Throughout this journey, many times I have watched hoping and praying that this “mountain” would finely make a resounding splash in the sea of forgetfulness. But as we are now entering our fourth year of battle, the quote set well with me knowing that God has not forgotten His Promise to our family. We are just taking another lap. He is with us. Looking to the day when this is all over and a distant memory, I wonder how much of our life will be fully restored. That is the Lord’s Promise and answer to what has been taken from us, right? We all want to take back what the enemy has stolen from us. It belongs to us. While the enemy is intent on stealing, killing and destroying God’s Children, Jesus is diligent in the details as He gives us an abundant life.
“Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the deserts.” The stream renews the desert by watering the seeds that are already in the ground to reproduce life and vitality again. Those who continue to plant through the droughts of life watering their surroundings with tears will see the harvest and experience joy again. The weep as they sow and shout when they return with the harvest. I wonder if in our attempt to “take back” what the enemy has “stolen” from us maybe we should evaluate what we have lost. Is it worth having again? Not everything we lost is meant to be returned or restored. Some of it was seed that went in the ground and will not come back as it was but what it was meant to be. Some of it was not good for you so it really wasn’t the enemy that took it from you but rather the Lord who delivered you from it (or maybe him or her). The Lord is intent on giving us an abundant life that is rich and satisfying. Do you want to be rich? Satisfied?
Luke 12:33-34 (NLT)
“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
“Restore our fortunes.” The enemy is not responsible for all the losses in our life. It is important to know this but understand the reason we cannot seem to hold on to anything of value and worth in our life beginning with money. It is the obvious pink elephant in the room. Everyone wants more money. Thinking that financial security will bring them peace and joy as they can stop worrying and relax to enjoy life. I used to think the very same thing. However, if you look into the life of those who win the lotteries offered in various states, you will find most are broke again just a few years later. Money is a magnifier allowing a person to fulfill the desires of their heart. Jesus said to place our treasure in Heaven. The “purses of Heaven never get old or develop holes.”
For years, I have struggled with budgeting not like you may think. I over evaluate my budget and watch every penny in fear of lack. As we have had to address the needs of our son, I overbought for our girls in a vain attempt to make up for the fact that I could not be here like I usually am. At the beginning of this year, enough was enough. I have decided to test God. I can do that because we have committed our finances to the Lord by faithfully tithing. He promises to provide all that we need. I proclaimed “No Buy” January and for the entire month bought nothing new instead going through every nook and cranny of our house discovering a surplus of items we no longer use, want or need. So I began selling these things online and giving stuff away. Amazingly, I will be doing this for some time as I have discovered a lot of stuff. Rather than making more money, I am learning to be a better steward of what we have and determining money’s role in our family. When we worry and stress about our finances, it is because we have an emotional attachment to them. I have decided in my heart that money offers what I need to feel peaceful and secure in this life rather than total trust and reliance on God. We pray for the Lord to restore our finances. Perhaps, He is pouring more money in our life but we have not learned anything in our passionate pursuit of more. Principles like contentment and satisfaction with what we have will change our hearts. God is our Provider. He is good one. We must be good stewards of everything God has given us.
“Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” What would happen if you lost your job today? Would it be devastating? Would it produce chaos in your life? There have been many things that I have learned through the process of seeking care for our son. This form of cancer is very aggressive. Only the first round of treatment was considered routine. After that, the doctors had to look all over the world for modalities. By the time, we got to round four it was time to get strategic and try something radical. Insurance companies do not like radical and in fact, usually bow out about that time. Hospitals like insurance and tend to forget your long term relationship with the first denial. The minimum cost for a bone marrow transplant is $350,000. Needless to say, this was not something that we had been saving up for a rainy day. We fought the insurance company desperately for six months. Talk about lapping the mountain, I definitely felt like we were getting the run around. We begged the hospital to help us. Kept running around the mountain. Finally, we had exhausted all efforts. I remember the day – moment that I prayed, “Lord, if this is your Will it’s gonna be all You! To God be the Glory!” The next day, the insurance company approved treatment. To this day, no one knows how or why except me. God showed me something in that moment that is bearing new fruit each day. Money and people cannot give me the desires of my heart like the Lord can and will when I put my trust in Him. When our heart desires and trusts the Lord more than anything else, it doesn’t matter what the enemy takes away – He gives us something better!
Leviticus 24:19-21 (NLT)
“Anyone who injures another person must be dealt with according to the injury inflicted— a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Whatever anyone does to injure another person must be paid back in kind. Whoever kills an animal must pay for it in full, but whoever kills another person must be put to death.”
The elements of the Law were no joke. Like for like. “Whatever anyone does to injure another person must be paid back in kind.” But grace gives us better than we deserve. Whatever the thief takes must be repaid double. (Exodus 22:7) But what if that which he took was not what the Lord had for you making it less than God’s Best? Do you want it back double or do you want what God intended for you to have in the first place? Think about Job. In the midst of his trauma, he believed that the Lord gives and takes away – blessed be the Name of the Lord. He did not ask for what was taken to be restored. (Job 42:10-12) If you want double for your trouble, you must live in faithful obedience in the midst of your struggle. Planting seeds of righteousness (or right standing with God) in every step even if the only thing you can water them with are your tears. Examine the contents of your heart. What do you value and treasure most? When the fulfillment of our heart is in alignment with God’s Will for us, we stand under the dispensation of Grace that doesn’t give us back what we lost but better than we deserve.
James 1:2-8 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
The greatest and most worthwhile abundance in our life is faith. Faith makes every single impossible totally possible. With this in mind, we know that while all things are possible not everything is good and beneficial. The Lord will not give you anything back that will “steal, rob, or kill” your faith because it is our source of life. Before you call back those things that you think the enemy may or may not have taken from you, ask for Godly Wisdom. He will answer those who listen with open ears and a ready heart. Such discernment may keep you from running in circles chasing yesterday’s substitutions and compromises to find completeness, wholeness, contentment, love, joy and peace in Jesus Christ. Your life could change forever in a moment without a single situation or circumstance changing. That’s what faith can do restore us in a moment and prepare us for an abundant lifetime of faith making possibilities from all our impositions and impossibilities. We will become “fully developed, perfect, complete, needing nothing.” I believe that this is the meaning of being restored! God’s Way! Forever! Lord, restore our fortunes.
Psalm 36:7-9 (NLT)
How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.