Key Verse: "To all who mourn in Israel,he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair."-Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
My recent trip to Vienna, Austria was an extraordinary experience in countless ways. It was truly a place to behold where every one of my senses was stimulated in ways one can only imagine in storybooks. St. Stephan's Cathedral. Schonbrunn Palace. Street musicians and artists galore. Rich Sacher Torte and coffee straight from heaven. Yet, one particular moment marked my heart in a way I did not expect.
Walking around Stephensplatz in the first district, I came upon some ancient Roman ruins over 2,000 years old. My eyes gazed upon the bricks and dust in awe and wonder as I considered that these very ruins were a remainder of a time when Christ was here on Earth. I stood silently as I heard God whisper, "I have always been here. I am here right now. I will always be here. All of creation is mine to restore."
Truth be told, we all have something in our life that needs restoration. A broken relationship. A broken heart. A broken past. We all know what it is to feel the shame of failure. Disappointment. Grief. Ruin.
And yet, we have access to restoration by the power of Christ. There has never been a time where Christ didn't see the ruins in our lives. Despite our many failures and mistakes, he looks upon us with compassion and mercy. Truly, it is Christ's greatest desire to see you restored to God's unconditional love and endless mercy. Today, this very moment, we can experience restoration by the blood of our Savior. Through Jesus, we can experience a new beginning despite the ruins in our lives. In Christ, we receive an instantaneous healing of sin, followed by a gradual process of making all things new in our lives. After all, every great work of art takes time, commitment, patience, and love. In Christ, we are allowed to find beauty from ashes. Restoration from ruin.
Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross that makes it possible for us to be restored to God's unending love. We know there is no other way to find forgiveness and restoration except through the cross. We accept your gift of salvation and look to you for restoration and healing. Take our brokeness. Take our pain. Take the ruins in our lives and make something beautiful from the ashes.
Reflection: What needs restored in your life?