Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:19
When the Lord saw the widow, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” Luke 7:13–14
When Diane and I were first married, we appropriated three or four pieces of furniture that had sentimental value. Two of them may also have actual value as antiques, all of them needed restoring. So we set about restoring them: stripping the old varnish, and discovering a beautiful patina that had been covered over the years. It was a work of love, and the results were quite satisfying. We still use them today.
We are also in need of restoration. We are all covered over with the aged and ugly varnish of sin. We may or may not be valuable in the world’s eyes. But God’s work of restoration indicates his love for us, his estimation of our value, and points us toward a beautiful future of his making.
Nowhere is that more clear than when we face death. Just as the widow at Nain was dealing with the terrible loss of her only son (and only source of security, Jesus enters and removes death’s sting. God’s salvation comes to us sometimes in dramatic fashion. When we face illness, loneliness, sin, guilt, despair, and even death, we long to see his face shine into our lives and give us hope. God’s restoration process will ultimately be experienced on the Great Last Day when everything is restored to God, and we are restored to him, and we shine like stars in glory with Christ. In the mean time, his restoration process is at work in us daily, making us over into those who are grateful for his love and work in our lives.