When The Tools of Restoration Are Painful

He is so hard working. My husband. And he is always working on something. The man of many talents….the master of none. He jokes he is a master of all. He wakes up slow, not really a morning person. But He loves to work once he is awake. His mind is always moving. Always fiddling with something. In our garage you will find various projects. A colleague of my husband mentioned to mom about Jason during medical school: “We would all be up for 24 hours and then Jason would come bouncing in the room like the energize bunny.” So much energy. He has a hard time doing nothing.

Don’t get me wrong, he does get tired, but I’ve noticed he doesn’t need the full eight hours of sleep. He’s pretty good with around six. From cleaning the dishes to building me stools.  Sometimes his projects will be finished, but most of the time they aren’t. It used to drive me crazy, that he never finished anything. But we’ve found the rhythem of our relationship. I am a finisher – and that is where I can help him along. I keep him on track and encourage (nag….) him to keep working until it is completed. And he keeps me working and inspires me to do new things.

My heavenly Father is working as well. We know God is working. I’ve talked about how during our season of waiting it gave my heart comfort in knowing God was working behind the scenes. Turns out, times of waiting aren’t the only times God is working behind the scenes.

For me, picturing God “behind the scenes” is something mysterious and mystic. I was comforted (a little) with the thought of God doing “God-things” – but really, I wanted to know what He was doing. And we do know what He is doing.

No, we can’t know all of the details or motives of God. But we can know a lot of what God is doing. The Bible is pretty clear what He is up to. We know He is ruling over govenerments and kings. We know He is preparing for the coming of His Son. We know He is calling sinners to repentance. One of the biggest things He has shown me recently is His work of restoration.

John 5:17: “Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I , too, am working.'”

Phil. 1:6: “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion unlit the day of Christ Jesus.”

Restoration means a return of something to a former, original, normal, or unimpaired condition.” We were once in the Garden. We were once in perfect fellowship with God. Because of sin, we are all in need of restoration. Our bodies, souls, and spirits need a renewal. And our God is on it!

Unlike my husband, {who gets out his tools to start a project, leaves it for a few weeks, and comes back to it} our Father is always working. He takes His tools and is always working. Sometimes those tools are not pleasant. It may seem He has moved on and is working on someone else. Maybe He’s forgotten about us. It feels that way.

Loneliness. Shame. Depression. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Fear. Distress. Illness. Pain.

His tools are always working. Never sleeping. Never on vacation. The word “good” in Phil. 1:6 can also mean excellent. So our God is restoring us to excellence.  I’m in the middle of watching the Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Lorelai (the mother) has just decided to buy an old house and convert it to an inn. When she begins, it is so broken down, its hard to see the potent ion. Chipped paint and broken windows. The shutters are hanging from their nails. A fierce wind blows the dust around the porch. The vines are working their way up to the attic and into the rooms through shattered glass. With a leaky roof. Empty halls. Dirty carpets and gray walls. It needs restoration. It was once a beautiful home with color, laughter, and light. It just needs a carpenter to come in and fix it up. And she does.


Our Carpenter is working on us. His tools are sometimes uncomfortable. Painful at time. How can God use the broken and make it beautiful?

Maybe the lonliness will restore our friendship with God.

Maybe the shame will restore a right relationship as sin is confessed.

Maybe the uncertainty and fear of the future will lead us to seek out the truth that God is at work in the future. Teaching us to trust our steps to Him.

Maybe the illness and pain in life will keep our hearts focused on enternity – living for heaven and the healing waiting for us there.

To restore your joy, maybe God will bring great sorrow.

Psalm 80:3: “Restore us, God, let your face shine that we may be saved.”

In Psalm 80:3 the phrase “let your light shine” is a reference to the blessings God gave the people in Numbers 6:25. “May Yaheweh make His face shine on your and be gracious to you.”  The face reflected the righteous character of God. Our blessings don’t come from having a pain-free life, but a life focused on God. We can trust the tools because we know God is using those to restore us.

Our greatest growth will sometimes emerge from our greatest pain.. Through the trials and pain of restoration, God never leaves. He is not hovering over us saying, “Just hang in there, this is for your good.” He says instead, as He bends down to hold our hearts, “I know its tough. It hurts. I am working, but while I work I will never leave you. I will always love you. Always.”

The greatest good will sometimes come from the greatest pain.

Don’t forget that restoration is done in love. You are so loved. And the story of God’s love for you can be found in the Bible. Through the pain and hardships, it is there: The love. Our God loves us so very much. His love is written through the pages of scripture. It weaves in and out of every story. His story for your life might include pain – in fact, it will. But it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love you. In honor of that, I am giving away the follow bundle. To remind you of this amazing love!


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  1. So lovely, Sarah! Thank you for this. There is much rebuilding going on in my life right now…but I’m actually at the first plank. Bonnie 4.0 will be awesome, if I get out of the way, pray and trust, and let God do the work in the broken places. This post nourished my soul today. Blessings from #EspressosOfFaith via #WomenWithIntention Wednesdays!

  2. Thank you for sharing this very edifying and encouraging post.

    I loved your list of “maybe’s”. I know for me, the Lord did use a season of loneliness when my daughter of 18 moved to California after she got married. It was literally like a death as I walked past her empty room. The Lord used that room to bring healing and restoration to me, as I lovingly worked in it to make it a special guest room for when they would visit. It was while I worked in that room that I saw Jesus as my best friend.

    So glad I stopped by here today. 🙂

  3. Falling more and more in love with my hard-working husband, Brett Ricley every day! Thanks for sharing!

  4. My husband is so like yours. He is always working and starting projects that he eventually finishes. We have been working on a back room for almost a year now. He is so busy though with work, keeping up yard, spending time with grands and his children. I amazed at his capacity for love. Thanks for sharing. I love that you used your story to illustrate wonderful biblical truths as well. Our Jesus is sure to complete every good work in us. 🙂

  5. such a good word…. God knows what He is doing though! 😀 Just stopping by from #IntentionalTuesday linkup! 😀 keep up the great posts! God bless!

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