Acts 4:22 for this sign of healing had been performed on a man over 40 years old.
Christ didn’t die to make things good like they used to be. He died to make them good like they’ve never been.
My wife and I were eating recently at one of those restaurants with a lot of TV’s. I was distracted by an infomercial about some dietary supplement that if able to deliver what the pictures seemed to promise, I might have a future as a Hanes model. The tagline for Nugenix was “Be the man you used to me.” I looked at my wife who was also watching and said, “I don’t want to be the man I used to be. I want to be the man I’ve never been.”
I didn’t always understand that principle.
It wasn’t long after we founded our ministry in 2000 that I helped a drunk guy named Joe. (At least, I thought I was helping him.) This chronic alcoholic was at the end of his rope and agreed to go to the hospital for detox and rehab. I noticed his hesitation as we entered the sliding doors of the emergency room and after the desk clerk asked him some questions and told us to have a seat, Joe got jittery. He perseverated, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I gotta go.” Joe knew what he was in for. This wasn’t his first time through lock down, evaluations, medications and meetings. He was about to bolt. My inexperienced mind raced to come up with some solution to reinforce his original commitment to sober up. Here was my thought: Maybe the hope of restoration to a time when things were better would be a powerful motivator, so I tried to draw a picture.
“Joe, things are going to get better. They can be better again. Try to remember a time when things were right, maybe when you were a child and didn’t have a care in the world but playing in the park or flying a kite. Life can be pure and bright like that again.”
I’ll never forget Joe’s response.
“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”
He took off out the doors and into the woods.
I’ve gotten to know Joe and some of his family since then. It’s true. Joe never had a day like the one I was trying to get him to remember.
Restoration is a tricky word. For Joe, there was no “restore point” in life that he wanted to return to. Same with the paralytic at the gate called Beautiful. He had been lame more than 40 years; in fact, all his life.
God didn’t restore the paralytic to a time he had known in his past but to something only God had known for his future.
What restoration does God have in store for you?
He doesn’t want to restore us to what we’ve seen and known as possible, but to what He sees and knows as possible!
Isn’t that’s exciting?!
What does He want to restore in you or to you that you’ve never known before?
A more apt word is Renewal. The Greek is άνακαίνωσις anakaínōsis and indicates a qualitative renewal, not a quantitative one. In other words, anakaínōsis is not to make new again, but to make new unlike ever before. God wants to do more than restore you. He wants to do something brand new in you.
When God restored the paralytic to what he had never know before, he was actually renewed.
When we consider our marriage, our best friend, our ministry or business or our overall health, almost all of us can say “We’ve known better times.” But with God’s renewing power, we should proclaim the truth from 2 Corinthians 4:16 that “our inner man is being renewed day by day” and that the best is yet to come.
So, before asking God to restore something that’s lost, hurt or broken, first remember that Christ didn’t die to make things good like they used to be. He died to make them good like they’ve never been. Then ask Him to do what only He can do; renew.