Alastair and I can sense the groans of creation in the city of Vancouver. Although she is beautiful and seemingly wealthy, there are aches within her people: aches of loneliness, the ache in wondering if there is more in life, aches from the desperation to belong, aching hearts hardened by wounds no one can heal.
These people are not only in Vancouver. They are in all of our cities, our families, and in our neighborhoods. Romans 8 speaks of the whole creation groaning, as
if in the pains of childbirth, aching for redemption, for restoration. There is a desire to be made new. Take some time and read Ezekiel 37 and ask:
Who is making all things new?
How is he making all things new?
What are the promises of restoration?
If we are to be like Ezekiel, what is our role in making all things new?
Who is making all things new?
What is he doing to make all things new?
How have you experienced his restoration in your life?
Do you get an idea of what your role is
in God’s process of restoration?
I don’t know about you but these verses stir something deep within my soul. The aches I see in the people around me—I am suddenly aware that they exist within me as well. We are all panting like thirsty dogs in the desert for God’s work of restoration.
Restoration: this is where I want us to dwell and meditate. The prayer “make all things new” is not something we invented. It is a prayer that the whole of creation has been calling out since the fall. Our hearts, minds, bodies, the earth, all cry out to be renewed, restored, brought back into our original design, brought back to life.
I am a nerd. I love word studies. Last week, on a whim, I decided to study the word restoration. The word has multiple uses. As for restoring objects that typically means fixing, making functional, or returning it to its original design. Think of a classic car that once was on cinderblocks and is now on display in a show room (or the bones in Ezekiel 37). It can also apply to an organization or nation. Think of the restoration of the monarchy in England, a king reinstated to his proper place (see Ezekiel 37:24-28) . Or if you lose something it can be restored to you- returned to its proper owner (Jesus came to take us back, see Luke 4:21). Can you imagine if God applied this word to us, our church, our world?
The Hebrew word translated “to restore” also means “to impart vigor, to cause to live”. When God makes all things new it will bring us from sin and the power of death to the fullness of life. This is not a new coat of paint without replacing the engine. Nor, is this some abstract spiritual concept. This is the power of resurrection on full display—in Christ, in you, in all creation.
The Greek word used in the text means “to renew”. Interestingly though, it is also the same word translated as “to soothe”. Restoration is putting God back in his proper place as king, it is bringing us back from the grave, but even more it is God gently reaching into our hearts to soothe the aches we feel everyday.
Making all things new can start for you now. Keep praying this prayer. God will enter your current aches and soothe you as he fulfills his promises to Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the promises of Jesus. With Christ’s return the work will be complete. Revelation is our hope. It is our future as God’s children, a restored creation, all things made new. He who testifies to these things says, “Behold, I am making all things new!” and “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. (Rev 21:5; 22:20-21)