Mar 1, 2011

Soul Restored

Psalm 23:3 "...He restores my soul."

The whole of chapter 23 is incredible, but that single phrase amazes me in it's beauty and comfort.

Your soul is made up of your mind, your will, and your emotions. It is your soul that the enemy directs his attacks at, for if he can get you to surrender your mind or your will or your emotions to him, the rest will follow easily.

Our mind is under constant attack from Satan is the thought-caster. He is always attempting to captivate our mind and attention with worldly distractions until the treasures of the Kingdom begin to look dry and bland by comparison. Perhaps your mind is confused with the voices of the world or other relationships always calling and pleading for you to turn aside in your pursuit of God. Perhaps the busyness of the day has dulled your thirst for God's presence. Perhaps He has become lower priority because the demands of responsibility have grown too large to handle. Or maybe the depthless glitter of the things the world calls success have blinded you and made you forget, for a time, that the pure in heart will see God.

Our wills are prone to wander to pleasure and indulgence. They are also frail and tend to be driven by the strongest winds or loudest fears. Maybe today you have grown discouraged by our failure, or you have forgotten the promises of God because they have delayed so long. Perhaps doubt has crept in unbidden and you can't find the courage anymore to trust and obey. Have there been a multitude of barriers and trials in your daily journey that tire you so you no longer want to will to follow Christ?

Our emotions are susceptible, too. Other loves pull us to worship a desirable image. Our own hearts lean away toward a desire for relationships that we see in the world. Unforgiveness can grow up like a poisonous weed, choking out godly love, and offenses cause our hearts to harden so we feel no kindly emotion towards others. Breaches of relationships caused by another's wrong attitudes can wound our emotions. And relational turmoil can steal from my time and passion for doing God's will.

In a single day we can face all these attacks and more. They can seem to be strangling the life from us. At times, in the heat of the battle, we can tend to wonder why God allows them.
Allow them, He does, for the same reason a coach allows an athlete to run until he feels he can run no more, to be tested to the limits of endurance, to be strong when every muscles cries out for rest.  It is because God is, in this process, making us strong enough to win.  He has promised that the overcomer will receive a crown, so he teaches us, in our daily journey, to overcome. Sometimes we grow, we learn, and we win the fight. Sometimes we get disheartened and we lose a battle we should have we limp back to the cross, weary, worn, knowing we have great need of mercy.

And then...when we feel as though we are to weak to go on, when we feel the sting of failure, when our view of people, life, our future, has been jaded and damaged, He comes. He lifts us up as a shepherd does His little lamb, and He makes us as good as new.  He receives us back as a soldier from the fight is received home to a father's embrace and to healing.  He hides us in His pavilion (Psalm 91), and He brings back everything that has been lost. He "restores the years that the locust has destroyed," it says in Joel 2:25, and He gives us another chance to fight and to WIN.

Christ is the Lover of your soul. There is not a care that escapes His notice, a tear that He does not gather, a disappointment that He does not sympathize with, or a battle that He does not guard you in.

He brings peace that passes all understanding, and soothes your inflamed mind.  He gives us His Word that pierces like a sword through turmoil and confusion and realigns our priorities.
He restores the will to obey. He reminds us of eternal reward, so we can fight on valiantly. His Holy Spirit "cheers and guides." He gives "strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow."
He heals your heart. He gives hope for restored relationships, and courage to face those yet unrestored. He gives wisdom to those who seek it, and pours out His love in great floods over every relationship. The strength He offers is a bottomless well we can tap. His love is an eternal fountain. His mercy He gives freely to us, so we may lavish it on others just as freely.

He makes it so that we can wake up tomorrow with all the joy, the hope and the expectancy of a little child with a lifetime of bright opportunities ahead. He makes us a new creation once again. Then He sits back and looks at His new creation and says with a smile, "It is good."

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:28-31)


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