“They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.”
Isaiah 61:4 ESV
Everything about Isaiah 61 tells the narrative of a God who is all about restoring things and more importantly people. A destructed city was not anything to be proud of. It represented a failure, a defeat, and for God’s people, suggested to surrounding nations that He had abandoned His people.
This declaration from Isaiah is my favorite thing. Who doesn’t love a good
restoration project? Our TV viewing stats suggest the fixer upper home shows, along with restyles from rooms to bodies, have us glued to the screens to see the big new reveals.
Something new from something old.
The Message puts it beautifully:
“They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new.”
Isaiah 61:4 MSG
I think this sums up the kingdom of God beautifully. I remember a season in life when it felt as though I’d lost everything. There I was standing in the middle of a mess and wondering how on Earth God was going to fix anything let alone use me in terms of building His Kingdom ever again. Overnight, I lost a church community, I lost direction, and I lost the ability to see beyond the rubble.
People with all the good intentions spoke life and purpose over me, declaring God would do a new thing. I guess I thought that meant starting something from scratch - like a clean slate, with all the potential of dreaming on a shiny new blank page.
This verse was my verse in that particular year; I realized that God was indeed capable of doing something new - but it was way beyond a clean page. It was a tidy up. It was a reworking of the old. The old was most certainly gone, but the experience, the past, was going to be part of a marvelous rebuild. In good old kingdom fashion - nothing is wasted. So many people spoke those particular words over me in that difficult season, and I stand today knowing that God has used and is continuing to use my past experience as a platform for building something new.
Each “old” brick that is out of place is a lesson learned. A journey taken. An experience I call mine. Its own little story that when placed in the hands of the master builder finds a new position and is once again part of a phenomenal story and structure called me. My bad bricks have been monuments of hope, warnings and encouragement to others. My bad experiences have been learning curves making an epic foundation for something more secure and good.
Our God is one who repairs. I want to encourage you today - maybe you’re sitting in a mess - maybe a new start sounds like the perfect answer. Whilst erasing the old and starting over sounds ideal - God is using your rubble to build you up again. Absolutely nothing is wasted.
As I have read stories from the 61Exchange - they testify to this exact truth.
God fixes things.
He rewrites stories.
He makes beauty from ashes.
I love everything this ministry represents in terms of pointing women to a Father who
loves a good restoration project and is pretty perfect at it.