Restore Unto Me: When Grace and Brokenness Meet

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Fat drops of rain splash on the weathered wood of the deck outside the back window. They mingle with melting snow, washing away the thick layer of winter grime. It’s the January thaw—a brief intermission before the cold and snow return in earnest.

Even inside where warm lamplight pushes the mid-morning dreariness away, the damp seeps into my body. And yet, it breathes the memory of spring.

Restore unto me the joy of my salvation…

These words have been my prayer for the last few years. I’ve lived the life of a Pharisee, I’ve discovered. So much of what I’ve done over the years has been performance based, motivated by the fear of stepping out of God’s will and the desire to impress both Him and those around me. Because of that, I’ve quietly judged myself and others based on a long list of strict rules and unreasonable expectations.

And we’ve all fallen short.

But the last couple of years have brought a slow, slow healing. How beautiful it is when spiritual affectation thaws, when grace mingles with brokenness and washes away a thick layer of heart-grime. How beautiful when the burden of doing it in one’s own strength is lifted.

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And yet, how far I still must go. The more I realize that a neatly packaged, six-steps-to-a-better-life Christianity doesn’t work, the more I am driven to my knees. Because if what I’ve been doing isn’t working, what will?

Only Jesus.

If I am to serve Him at all, I can only do it with His help. If I am to love others at all, I can only do it in His strength. I need Him. Desperately.

Although I fumble to write it into words, there is freedom in this broken surrender. The God of all creation meets us in our place of need. The more acutely I am aware of my inadequacies, the more I am awed by the depth of my Saviour’s love for me.

He loves me.

Jesus paid it all;
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow.

We don’t deserve it and we can’t earn it. But Jesus paid it all. This is the beauty of the gospel. This is our hope.

This is the joy of our salvation, restored and overflowing.

What we can’t do for ourselves, He does for us. Every moment of every day.

This is love.



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