This is a day of restoration. This is a word for all who have been pushed aside and pushed out. It is for those who have been silenced. Who have had the most simple acts of kindness and affirmation withheld by those for whom you have served. You have cried out, “God, how long? Don’t you see?”
And the Lord would say to you today, “I see and I will restore.”
Let me share with you what He showed me.
A few months ago my friend, Bette, told me a story of a black dog. Each day as she drove to work she saw it. The dog was emaciated and yet chained to a pillar on the porch where it lived. One look at the dog revealed that the owner had withheld the food and nourishment the dog needed. The black dog was helpless and sat there day after day overlooked and ignored…dying.
After several days Bette could stand it no longer. On her short lunch break she drove over to the house and knocked boldly on the door. A man probably in his twenties came to the door.
“I want to buy your dog,” she began.
“It’s not mine. His owner works at Sonic. You’ll have to ask him.”
She immediately drove to the Sonic and found the dog’s owner. His blood shot eyes didn’t escape her notice. She knew how to speak his language.
“I’ll give you five dollars for your dog,” she said with cash extended.
“Sure, whatever,” the guy responded as he took the money.
“And I want to order a hamburger as well,” she finished.
The burger wasn’t for her lunch. It would be the dogs.
Back at the dog’s house, she gently removed the rope from the leery dog’s neck and created a trail of hamburger crumbs leading to her car for the starving dog. He ate them quickly following her to the vehicle and jumped in to get the remaining pieces.
With little time remaining before she had to be back to work, Bette drove to the local vet and went inside. “I have a dog in my car that needs his vaccinations. He also needs to be bathed, defleaed, fed and watered and you have three hours before I come back to pick him up.”
When Bette came to pick “Blackie” up three hours later, he was already looking better on the outside, but it would be awhile before the abused dog would begin to trust on the inside. He was shaking as Bette took him and loaded him back in her car to take him to her apartment. With her schedule at the hospital where she was a new doctor, she didn’t have time for a dog, especially one that needed such intense care. But she also couldn’t walk away from what was before her.
That night wasn’t easy. “Blackie” had been so long without food and water that the introduction of it back into his system sent him into severe diarrhea which lasted all night. Bette stayed up with him, working with him, loving him, helping him. A dog she had never met, that wasn’t her responsibility and yet she stepped in and took responsibility. Bette was offering him hope. Bette changed his life.
The next day as she was talking with a neighbor she shared with him about the dog and the rescue. He in turn shared that he had just broken up with his long-time girlfriend. Nursing a broken heart and a schedule that was now vastly empty he said to Bette, “I’ll take the dog.”
And here’s the deal, within 24 hours the abused, unloved black dog that had been imprisoned on a hot porch now had a loving owner and moved into one of the most upscale areas of that city. His new owner wanted him and he had lots of time, love and attention to pour into the needy animal. In one day “Blackie” saw complete rescue, resurrection and restoration.
This is what the Lord would say to you.
“I have seen you and I have loved you. The days of imprisonment are over. The days of abuse and withholding are over for I am restoring.
Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—The former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. (Joel 2:23-27).
“No longer will you hang your head in shame. The days of isolation are over and He is bringing you out, setting your feet on a rock and restoring your voice. Do not be afraid. Watch and see for He has spoken. He will do it and it will happen quickly.
And yet there is more, for you have seen the plight of the abused and He has said, “I have given you a heart of compassion to see with My eyes. You will see and feel the pain of those who have been in chains. And I am calling you to be one who will act. You will not just drive by as you see those in pain, but you are called to be one who will stop, release the rope around their neck and help lead them back to nourishment. For you will see with My eyes.”
I am restoring this day.
Restoration has begun.