When God Resurrects And Restores

When God Resurrects And Restores

From the time she was young, all Lucy wanted to do was become a mother. But after years of failed fertility treatments and the miscarriage of two babies, Lucy and her husband decided to stop trying.

Although Lucy’s heart ached, she started moving on. She bought a house with her husband and designed a beautiful guest room instead of a nursery. She took on a job with more responsibilities and longer hours. She invested her spare time into her community.

She’d managed to accept that this was how her life was going to be. Until the day she got sick. She had so much difficulty with nausea that her husband took her to the emergency room, where the doctor revealed Lucy was eight weeks pregnant.

Months later, Lucy gave birth to a perfectly healthy little boy. She felt overwhelmed by the beautiful blessing God had given her. “I thought my dreams for a family were dead, but God resurrected them!” She told a friend.

Resurrection Comes in Many Forms

When most people think of the word “resurrection,” they think of Jesus Christ returning after the Crucifixion. This is definitely the most important resurrection in all of history.

In fact, it’s the Resurrection that gives us hope, comfort, and peace. But there are actually several different types of resurrection that can affect your life. Here are a few examples of them…

Embrace a Relational Resurrection

When the taxi driver arrived, he found a young man clutching a single duffel bag that was ripped and torn. He’d been hired to drive him across state lines, a distance that would take him roughly eight hours.

“You don’t have more luggage?” He asked the stranger sitting on a small bench and staring forlornly at the hole in his left sneaker.

“No, I sold anything of worth days ago,” answered the young man. The statement reminded the taxi driver he wasn’t in a great part of town, and he glanced around. He’d heard stories of men being lured out to undesirable locations then robbed.

“Well, are you coming?” he asked, the nervous energy he felt coming across in his impatient tone.

The young man stood and walked to the front. “Is it OK if I ride here?” He asked, opening the passenger door.

The cabbie nodded, just wanting to get out of town. The young man had barely buckled his seat belt before he put his foot on the gas. The first few hours passed in silence, with the passenger staring out the window for most of it.

As the taxi driver pulled off the interstate, he asked the young man, “Where are you headed to?”

“Well, I’m going home…I think,” the passenger answered. “My father and I had a falling out. I left a few months ago in a huff. I’m not sure if he’ll forgive me.”

“So you’ve gone back to mend fences then?”

“I’m not sure. I wrote my dad a letter and dropped it in the mail three days ago. Then I took what little I had to hire you.” He sounded small. “I used to eat the finest foods at my father’s. I wore name brands, got the best education—I never wanted for anything.”

The cab driver thought of his own teenage son as he turned onto the street that led to the father’s house. “Well, perhaps there’s something that can be done. Fathers and sons do get into spats now and again.”

“In my letter,” explained the young man, “I told my dad to leave the porch light on if I’m welcome home. If I’m not, I’ll just keep going.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes as the taxi slowed. “I can’t look. Would you just tell me? Is the light on or not?”

The taxi driver stopped the cab in front of the house, awed by what he saw. The light was flooding from every room. Even the lawn was lit up with Christmas lights. “Welcome home,” the taxi driver whispered around the lump in his throat.

The story–inspired by the writer Jerry Jenkins–is a modern-day re-telling of The Prodigal Son in Luke 15. What the Prodigal experienced that day was a relational resurrection.

Relational resurrection happens when we think a relationship is over, but God steps in. Sometimes, this resurrection might involve reconciling with a spouse after divorce proceedings were started. Or your resurrection might be about making peace with a parent after a long season of silence or re-connecting with a sibling who abandoned the family.

Although they are the sweetest, relational resurrections can be painful and messy. Things may not look (or feel!) like a Hallmark card right away. All you can do is trust that God is working and try to pour grace over yourself and your loved one.

When You Need an Emotional or Financial Resurrection

Job is the Biblical character who perhaps suffered the most in his lifetime. For a while, everything was good. He had ten children, vast flocks, and many servants. Despite his wealth and abundance, Job had not forgotten God.

In fact, Job was described as a man who was “blameless” and “upright” (Job 1:1). But unbeknownst to Job, Satan approached God.

During the conversation, God pointed out Job to Satan.

If God had a wallet, this would be the moment that He would open it up to show off the pictures. “See my little son?” He would say, chest-puffing with Fatherly pride and affection, “Look at him! He’s blameless! He’s upright! He’s so precious to me.”

At this, Satan started an argument. He insisted that Job had integrity only because things were going well in his life. But if all that was taken, would this man still praise God? Would he still love and serve him?

But God trusted the heart of His child. So, He allowed Satan to take whatever he wanted from Job—with one exception. He could not take Job’s life.

This began a series of trials meant to break Job. In one day, bad news arrived again and again. 

All of Job’s livestock was killed or kidnapped. These animals would be Job’s source of income—it’s the equivalent of losing your job and discovering the company has gone bankrupt, making your pension worthless. You have no present income and no future money either.

Next, Job learned that all of his sons and daughters were at a family member’s house. While they were there, the home collapsed, and everyone except for one servant had died.

This was the first day of the darkest season in Job’s life. And instead of getting better, things got worse for a while. Job suffered a terrible disease (Job 2:7), his wife counseled him to die (Job 2:9), and his friends blamed him for his pain (Job 15:6).

When this time of testing was over, God gave Job twice as much as he had before. He restored Job’s fortune (Job 42:10), resurrected his family relationships (Job 42:11), and gave him more children (Job 42:13).

Sometimes when we go through seasons of heartache, it’s easy to assume that we’ve done something wrong. We search for the sin or mistake we made that caused the calamity we’re experiencing.

But Job’s story proves that sometimes our test has nothing to do with us at all. What’s more, God can—and often does!—restore what was taken from us during times of testing.

Understanding a Physical Resurrection

There are multiple stories of physical resurrection in the Bible. Two notable resurrections include a twelve-year-old girl (Luke 8:49-56) and a widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17). But perhaps the most well-known resurrection is Lazarus.

When Lazarus became ill, his sisters sent Jesus a message. The wording they used is fascinating. They said,

3“Lord, the one you love is sick.” (John 11:3)

They didn’t speak his name—they didn’t have to. They simply identified their brother as one that was dear to the heart of God and trusted that He will respond.

Jesus did respond. The sisters’ message prompted Him to act, though he seemed much slower than they would have liked.

By the time Jesus arrived, the heartbroken sisters had lost their brother. Martha heard that Jesus was close and ran to meet him.

21“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” (John 11:21-22)

When God Resurrects And Restores

Her words flowed from an aching heart. How many times have you whispered words similar to Martha’s?

  • If God had only acted, I would have had a family by now. 
  • If Jesus had only intervened, I would be fully healed. 
  • If God had only protected me, I’d still have a job right now.

It’s not wrong to ache in the space in between pain and resurrection. It doesn’t mean your faith is small if you cry because everything in you is aching. It’s OK to reveal the anguish of your soul to the One who formed you.

In their pain, Jesus didn’t turn away. He didn’t express disappointment or anger at their fragility. Instead, He reminded both sisters of who He is.

25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

This is a powerful lesson to carry with you when you’re still in the darkness of the tomb, when resurrection still feels miles away, and restoration feels like something too painful to even dream of. Look to the Resurrection and the Life—to Jesus Himself—to sustain you through this season of heartache.

After reminding the sisters of who He is, he went to Lazarus's tomb and ordered the stone to be rolled away.

When it is, He prayed, saying,

41“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” (John 11:41-42)

Then He called out for Lazarus, and the man emerged from the tomb! He was still wrapped in the grave linens.

Can you imagine the celebration that night at his home? His sisters hosted the biggest dinner party. The whole neighborhood would have shown up with gifts and meals, and warm words.

Of course, Lazarus's resurrection was only a preview of what will happen for Christians when Christ returns. Even now, Christ is in Heaven, preparing an eternal home for all those who believe.

In John 14, Jesus proclaimed,

3“When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:3) NLT

When God Resurrects a Dream 

Joseph was just a teenager when God gave him a dream. In it, he saw his family bowing down to him. This dream was a sign of the elevation that God was going to bring into his life.

But fast forward a few years, and the dream looks laughable. Joseph is no longer the favored son of his beloved father. In fact, his father believes he’s dead when in reality, Joseph is hundreds of miles away.

He’s living in a foreign country, one of the first known victims of human trafficking in the Bible. His own brothers were the ones that sold him into slavery. They figured they could squash his dreams while he was young.

Despite the harsh circumstances around him, Joseph manages to prosper. He’s sold to a man named Potiphar. Through hard work and diligence, Joseph quickly becomes Potiphar’s right-hand man. He’s in charge of everything the other man owns.

In fact, God has so blessed Joseph that Potiphar’s only concern was what to eat and drink each evening (Genesis 39:6).

Unfortunately, things weren’t all good for Joseph. His master’s wife began a campaign of sexual harassment against the young man. It was the lurid comments when they were alone, the longing looks she’d cast his way, the way she dressed provocatively when she knew he’d be around.

When she tries to force herself on him, Joseph begs her not to. As her advances continue, he runs, leaving behind his ripped clothing in the process (Genesis 39:12). So, Potiphar’s wife claims that Joseph has attempted to rape her.

Joseph is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. For years, he is seemingly forgotten. When two servants are thrown into prison, Joseph interprets their dreams—proclaiming that one will return to Pharaoh’s house while another will be hanged.

His prophecy comes true for each man, yet he is still forgotten. In the harsh prison gloom, it would be easy for Joseph to become angry and bitter. It seems everyone he’s ever known has betrayed him.

Yet there’s no record that Joseph allows this valley to make him bitter. Years later, when God has elevated him, and his family has bowed, Joseph’s brothers worry. They fear he will retaliate against him for their harsh treatment.

But Joseph shows grace and demonstrates his understanding of God’s deeper purpose for his life.

He says,

20“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” (Genesis 50:20-21)

Standing in the middle of your valley right now, you may not be able to see all of the good God is going to accomplish with your life.

But rest assured, He will use it for good. That is in His nature, and it’s His promise to us,

28“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Can I pray for you today, friend?

God, please be with those who need resurrection. So many things have been broken—their families, their dreams, their jobs, their hopes. But You see it all, Father. By the power of the Holy Spirit, please breathe new life into each reader. I ask this in the name of Jesus, who has all authority over Heaven and earth, Amen.

Grace and peace,

Alicia

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