Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. (2 Corinthians 13:11)
Recently, I’ve been challenged by two words – Restore Hope. Whether it be in prayer, reading of Scripture, conversation or through social media, Facebook posts, even snail mail – no matter what form – I sensed that the Lord was wanting to get my attention.
So why these two words – Restore Hope? To help me grasp some understanding I needed to explore what they mean for me, now. While very much in the infancy stage, I thought it would be helpful to blog my musings.
From the outset my initial discovery revealed that Restore Hope has a direct correlation to the Hebrew word, “Shalom’.
Shalom is a key theme that runs through Scripture. Often, we were led to believe that Shalom only translated as peace, but this word talks of much more than peace. When we investigate the word, it captures in essence – wholeness, completeness, restoration, healing and redemption. In other words, Shalom is the realisation of creation as God intends it.
Throughout Scripture, God teaches us that we need to be living examples of His Shalom extending it into the world, but more importantly into the lives of individuals where brokenness and hurt exist.
Mother Teresa once said, “if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one”. For many, seeing this quote, we immediately think about feeding people – making a donation to a food bank, to a relief agency, or buy a sandwich with a matching sandwich going to someone in need. We look at the temporal need all around us. But let us not underestimate this form of giving. For many people living today these donations become life savers.
As I pondered Mother Teresa’s comment, my minds picture expanded to the unfailing love that Jesus’ poured out for us all. His death at Calvary was the greatest show of Shalom the world had ever seen. Jesus’ death wasn’t just looking at our physical restoration but at the holistic restoration of body, mind and soul.
As Christian’s we must see the whole and complete person, rooted in a biblical understanding of creation. For many is not just a lack of money or a lack of food, life is often associated with a lack of hope, an empty heart.\, the loss of belief in oneself. Broken relationships. Not being able to make progress. Isolation becomes a reality. Not knowing God. The list could be endless yet as we take a closer look … only one refers to not having enough money or enough to eat.
There will always be the widowed, the orphaned, the disabled, the handicapped, and the elderly—and so there will always be need for Christian charity for those who truly are limited by their circumstances as to what they can contribute to their own livelihood. But there will never be reason to neglect the acknowledgment and nourishment of each person’s human dignity, even if we desire to simply put food in their mouths.
Unfortunately, many approaches take the form of relief and end there. A model that ought to be temporary for emergency situations has become the fixed strategy even when, in the long term, it may prove more crippling than helpful.
Let’s head back to the two words at the beginning of the blog – Restore Hope.
The task of restoring hope in the world is overwhelming. Yet as I have ventured deeper and pushed into the dwelling place of God, I’m prompted to look at my own experiences of salvation and faithfulness as signposts to guide me.
In Psalm 51:12 we read, ‘Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me’ Salvation is all about our relationship with God – a deep abiding relationship that is perfect on God’s part and a work in progress in us. Knowing that we are not perfect – simply forgiven – brings great joy – great healing – great peace. What a beautiful thought as we offer Restore and Hope to others. For some it may be there first time they have been introduced to Jesus and his saving grace.
I read this recently and it so simply sums up my attitude to being faith-filled. Faithfulness is a common characteristic of uncommon spiritual achievers. It so wonderfully reminds me that through my simple faith in the Lord, I can achieve much for the kingdom of God to broken and hurting people as we restore and give them hope in our own nsphere of influence.
Restore Hope – a commitment to help individuals and communities – connecting them holistically as a whole person transformed into the likeness and image of Christ.