He Will Restore

I almost rushed past it.

I had sat down for the first time in a couple weeks to read my Bible and spend time with Jesus. To be honest, even if it weren’t for all the traveling and summer activities that had been keeping me busy, I still had been struggling with feeling pretty detached and dry. I hadn’t read my Bible in weeks.

The best way to describe how I felt, is to say, I felt spiritually unaffected and worn out, maybe even a bit burnt out; exhausted. I picked up my Bible and opened it up to Ezekiel—where I had left my Bible reading plan a couple months prior—and I thought to myself, “Ugh, there is definitely NOT going to be anything in here that’s going to help push me past this apathy I feel but... I guess I’ll do it anyway.” Yeah, I know, and you thought this post was going to be encouraging and inspiring! Stick with me.

Just to relay some quick history, Ezekiel is a book about a man who was exiled in Babylon with most of the remaining Isrealites. God presents himself to Ezekiel on a chariot pulled by four crazy looking creatures and proceeds to tell him that Jerusalem and Judah, the two Jewish nations, were going to fall violently and that it was now Ezekiel's job to call all the Israelites, who up to this point had pretty much abandoned God and His law,  to repent of their sin. The story goes from real bad to way worse and then it gets sort of better by the end. Super fun! So yes, that was what I was up against when I sat down to read and it’s fair to say my expectations were set pretty low.

But I did it.

I sat there and I opened up my Bible and read.

In that moment I didn’t feel a rush of peace or contentment. I didn’t really FEEL anything. There I was reading words that didn’t seem to resonate much and flipping through pages that did little to move my heart past the apathy I felt. In that moment I was bringing nothing to the table except my dried up, worn out self,  and then, I read this verse:

“... And I will give them one heart [a new heart], and put a new spirit within them. I will take from them the heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh [that is responsive to My touch],” Ezekiel 11:19 AMP

... Y’all, I almost rushed past it. 

I almost let those words do nothing to me. But I believe the Holy Spirit stepped into my exhaustion that day and interrupted me, and I stopped and read the verse over again. “I will take from them their heart of stone, and I will give them a heart of flesh, [responsive to my touch.]” 

I wish I could say the veil of exhaustion was lifted and suddenly, I was invigorated and moved and the dryness of the past month and half melted away but I would be lying. Those feelings did not go away. But what I will say, is that in that moment , I was deeply encouraged. When I read those words I was reminded of the truth, that God is in the business of restoring and renewing. That HE will take from me this hardened and apathetic heart and give me something new and beautiful. HE will press through, into the cracked and dried up places of my heart, and plant and water and cause there to be growth. Even when I don’t have a tangible awareness of the nearness of God, that numbness does not mean He has abandoned me. He hasn’t gone anywhere. He is always with me.

This is what God says in scripture:

  • “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 ESV

  • “You will seek me and find me if you seek me with all your heart,” Jeremiah 29:13 ESV

  • “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new  every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

  • “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,” Joel 2:25 ESV

  • “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 ESV

I am so prone to believe the lie that when I feel far away from the Lord that this automatically means I have sinned and sinned in a big way. And although sin that goes unconfessed can and will cause hardness to settle into our hearts, that’s not what Im talking about. I’m talking about the everyday grind of life. The day in and day out of work and responsibility and all of the world’s suffering. It’s hard living on earth. It’s painful and heartbreaking. God doesn’t say if you have trouble he says you will have trouble but He also says He has come to give us peace and that He is the overcomer.  

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

This is the thread woven through scripture. He is the restorer of our souls. He pursues us. He provides us with strength. He renews and recreates. He loved us FIRST. 

So if you are feeling dried up and worn out. Come. Come to Jesus. He doesn’t need you to be anywhere beyond where you are. He wants you. Right where you are, at this moment. The work is His and all we are called to is to show up, even if we have almost zero to give. He promises to meet us there no matter how dry or apathetic or hardhearted we feel AND he promises that if we do, our lives and hearts will be transformed to be more like His. He will give us a new and soft heart.

“... And I will give them one heart [a new heart], and put a new spirit within them. I will take from them the heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh [that is responsive to My touch],” Ezekiel 11:19 AMP