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Live long enough and you’ll encounter stories of restoration in the world that surrounds us. Live long enough and you’ll experience moments in your own life when you need to know the restorative power of God.

Restoration is a powerful principle in the Word of God. Restoration reminds us of the incredible transformative power of God’s Grace, and the resilience He has invested into the human spirit when we draw upon that grace. Nature also paints powerful testimony to the creative power and miracle of restoration.

Imagine for a moment the majestic oak tree in nature. They stand tall and serene in the forest. Their branches stretch wide and reach for the sky. Leaves dance in the wind. But one day, the skies darken, and an ominous storm rips across the landscape. The mighty oak is felled. Caught in the fury of the storm, a huge crack is heard. The trunk of this mighty oak is fractured, broken, severed. The once vibrant branches and leaves lie in what appears a tangled tragic mess.

For a time, the oak lies there, seemingly without life and beyond repair. But nature has a way of surprising us. In due time, something remarkable happens. The tree begins to heal itself. Because the all-important root system beneath of surface of the ground is not compromised, the tree is not condemned. Tiny sprouts emerge from the damaged trunk, tender green shoots that symbolize new life. Hope and resilience begin to emerge and slowly but surely, the oak begins to restore.

Years pass, and what was once a broken tree is now a marvel of restoration. The trunk has mended, stronger than ever, and the branches have grown anew. The oak stands tall once again, its canopy of leaves providing shade and shelter to the creatures of the forest. Its’ very presence inspires awe and reminds yet again of the power of restoration.

This story of the restored oak tree can mirror the journey of life. Just like the tree, people may face storms that uproot in a manner that creates devastation on all fronts. People and families can feel lost, broken, defeated. Such upheaval might represent a personal loss, a death, a career or ministry setback, or a deep emotional struggle that feels impossible to recover from. But let me speak to your spirit and soul-realm. GOD IS A RESTORATIVE GOD. Everything about Him is redemptive, and even as the story of the oak tree in nature resounds with this truth, restoration is possible for those who remain steadfast in Him. The same creative power that causes a broken tree to re-emerge, is the same creative power that operates when God’s divine grace is flowing.

I been on this earth for nearly seven decades. As a pastor for many of those years, I have witnessed first-hand the redemptive, restorative and creative power of God working in people’s lives. I’ve experienced it myself and poignantly so in recent times.

No matter how dire the circumstances, there is always strength to be found in God, and strength to rise again. The assault and wounds will heal. Spirits will overcome and soar once again. And the ability to rebuild will become your testimony.

Godly principles abound. Here are three that come to mind:

Firstly, faith is critical in the process.

God’s good pleasure is towards us, and without faith it is impossible to please God. That simply means, He takes delight when we trust in him. Like the analogy of the oak, restoration will happen in due season. Stir your faith and apply your faith. Use it, declare it, rest in it. And always remember that God’s (good, good) plans towards you can out-weather the largest storms and worse set-backs in life.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV):

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him”.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Second, we must seek support.

We were never designed to experience life alone. Just as the oak tree receives nourishment from the earth, the rain and the elements, we need the support (and nourishment) of loved ones, mentors, and communities to assist in restoration. God is never not by your side. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Psalm 23 declares that He will faithfully guide you along the right paths. Trust that God ordains others along those same right paths, who will see and believe in your potential. Faithful others who will not only stand with you but will walk with you into the full restoration God has destined.

"He restores my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake."

Lastly, never give up.

The road to restoration may feel long and challenging, but with patience, perseverance and determination, we can overcome any and every obstacle. We are God's handiwork, created for good works which He has already prepared beforehand. Setbacks are temporary, but the revelation we gain from overcoming lasts a lifetime and extends into that which is eternal.

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

My friends, let the story of the restored oak tree be a reminder to us all. No matter how forlorn the landscape may feel, restoration is possible. Embrace the process, seek support, and refuse to give up. Your restoration story is waiting to be written, and when you emerge from the storm stronger and more resilient than ever - you will inspire others to do likewise. Such is the generational nature of the Kingdom.

Brian Houston

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