Restore us, O Lord These simple words, from Psalm 80, seem so appropriate as we still do not appear to be done with the old troubles we thought we had left behind as we turned the calendar to 2021. “Restore us, O Lord” might be the plea of a grieving family or the prayer offered by one who suffers greatly from physical pain or even a community that is experiencing tumult.
According to the dictionary, ‘to restore’ means to return something to its former condition, place or position; to reinstate, to replace, rehabilitate or re-establish. In other words, restoring implies to go back in time.
Even though, we might want to go back (who has never yearned for the good old days, I ask you), the truth is that life would not be the same. We cannot go back to things as they were because we have been changed. I think it is true when people say that we really do not want things exactly as they were but rather as we think they were or as we want them to be. I have lived in this country for exactly 40 years and in that period I have visited my homeland Germany three times – often enough to know that dear Deutschland is by no means what I knew it to be when I grew up. I would love it to be as I knew it because it would be comfortable and familiar…but, it is not. Only in my mind and heart can I restore Germany to what it was; reality will set in and quickly teach me otherwise.
As we are still living within the first few days of this new year, looking back to the year that we came to dislike greatly, we probably want to cry out with the Psalmist: Restore us, O Lord. Sure, some things hopefully will be as they were: going to restaurants, visiting with friends and family, taking the masks off, removing the “Please do not sit in this pew” signs…but then, do we really go back or do we want to go forward?
Forward with the knowledge and wisdom we have gained?! Forward with those cautionary measures which hopefully will benefit us and prevent another global health crisis?! Forward with renewed vigor and confidence that we are much more resilient people than we ever gave ourselves credit for?! I want to go forward. I want my faith to be renewed each day and grow stronger so I can face whatever the future holds. I want to hold onto God who has promised to hold onto me and lead me into a better life someday.
Perhaps we just need to be ready to go forward with thanksgiving to God for having brought us this far by faith. Whatever God then decides needs to be restored, He will restore. Amen