Replanting wastelands

I don’t know what blows and slashes have come against your body and spirit, or how your life has been torn. Every morning, physical or emotional pain may make it difficult for you to get out of bed. Your days may be shrouded with grief right now or crippled by pain. Disease and damage stalk all of our lives.

What I do know is that the Kingdom of God is here. The King is alive and working in His kingdom, healing and restoring. I believe that with all my heart and soul. I’ve seen it. Whether it’s miraculous physical healing or healing of mind and heart that is needed, God works in the lives of His people.

Many times we don’t understand what He’s doing. Sometimes, like a surgeon, He actually has to cut away to heal. I don’t understand; I don’t have His perspective. Most of the time, I can’t see much farther than the end of my own nose. But my hope stands, absolutely firm, on the promises —

that He loves us deeply,
cares for all our needs,
and always works for our good in all things.

God will heal the rips and tears and diseases in our lives. Complete, whole life as He intended it to be when He created us in His own image—that’s what He’s moving us toward.

I find this so exciting: The creation story is not yet finished!

All through the Old Testament, on through the New, and into the Revelation of the future, this is the message: We suffer greatly from the disease and death we inherited, but our God is the God who heals and restores.

During some very dark days of my own life, when I was hanging on by my fingernails, the promises I kept going back to were the promises of healing and restoration. One of my favorites is found in Ezekiel (yes, that strange book).

This is a prophecy given to the Israelites who were living in exile. Their peace and lives had been smashed by a foreign power. Their land had been laid waste by war, cities destroyed, fields left barren, and the countryside desolate.

(That’s also a fairly accurate description of my emotional and relational landscape at the time.)

The message from God was that He was going to bring the exiles back to their land. The nation would be restored. Cities would be rebuilt, and the land would be productive again.

Let these words sink into your soul, because His promises of healing and restoration are also for us today. Notice how firmly He says, I’ve said I will do it, and I will!

“And when I bring you back, people will say, ‘This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden!’ Then the surrounding nations that survive will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted the wasteland. For I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do what I say.” (from Ezekiel 36:35, 36)

How I longed for my ruins to be rebuilt and my wastelands to be like the Garden of Eden!

And I tell you now, only the Lord could rebuild my life. There was no other hope. He is the one who replanted and transformed. He is still in the process of planting, pulling out weeds, and pruning. He is still creating!

My hope knows. The kingdom of God is here, now. My God is the God who rebuilds and restores and replants.

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Psalm Prayer: Take your pick this week, whichever of these prayers is your response to God;

From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help.
(Psalm 130:1)

You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.
(Psalm 119:65) 

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© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

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