This past weekend we attended a homecoming for the son of my “adopted sister” in Brevard County. As the pastor delivered the eulogy, he made reference to the 23rd Psalm. His point was this: Focus on the Lord as He restores our souls during these times of grief and loss. As the family mourns he emphasized; lean on the Lord, for He is the One who restores our souls.
God is our caretaker and watches over each of us. He repairs what is broken in our lives. He knows we can’t do it.
Restoration involves reflection. Reflection is done with deliberation. This happens when we look away from ourselves and see life from His perspective. Reflecting on God’s restoration helps each of us feel protected and secure. When we grieve, we certainly desire to feel safe as the Lord leads us through. Yet even in our everyday lives, we need to remain pliable with a reflective heart to keep us focused.
Restoration also provides replenishment. We require the right amount of rest in order to feel restored. During this time of rest, we will often sense an anticipation, deep within; as we reflect on being with God forever, in the future. God places in the hearts of His children, the need for daily and total Restoration to come.
Every night, since attending the funeral, I have prayed and remembered just how often He has and continues to restore my soul. And I remember it is a process. Life comes at us fast and furious, with unknown situations we think we will never be able to deal with…But God! He daily restores our souls.
He also sends spiritual reminders which come in many shapes and forms. Sometimes these reminders come as a surprise; or as we wait in anticipation. All I can say is, pray and watch!
The Advent season is a time of waiting. During each week of Advent we are given many reminders: Restoration takes time. When we remain focused on God and His greatness, we are longing for Him to renew us. Every day we are able to be restored with Hope, Joy, Love and Peace regarding this life. And now we still our hearts with the anticipation of His return. The same anticipation which was felt when Jesus was born.
Wednesday Whisper: Many people may not understand the purpose of celebrating the weeks leading up to Christmas. Today, I feel certain He is restoring, replenishing and giving us this time for reflection. For just as He came and He is coming again!
Father God, restore our souls today as we anticipate your return. Grant us Hope when times seems tough; Grant us Love in a time when the world is so full of evil; Grant us Joy in our times of despair and loss and fill us with Peace, the Peace which surpasses our understanding. Fill us, we pray with a sense of your presence as You walk with us here, until the time comes for your return and our departure from this earth. In His Holy Name, Amen
A little history lesson: While the Advent wreath with its four candles did bring light to churches, it was not to illuminate the interior as much as to symbolize the coming of Christ. The Advent wreath began in the time of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther.
During each Sunday of the Advent season, we focus on one of the four virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. Others consider the lighting of the first candle to symbolize expectation, while the second symbolizes hope, the third joy and the fourth purity. The Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day reminding Christians that Jesus is the light of the world. The order and exact wording vary among churches, but the wreath continually reminds us of whom we are called to be as followers of Jesus. (www.fumc.org)