November 30, 2022
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There's one vacation spot our family has always wanted to go back to - Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. As you walk through this bustling, restored Colonial capital, suddenly you say, "Whoa, it's not "now" anymore." You feel like you're in the 1770s again. I mean the buildings, the gardens, and the elegant rooms carry this charm that even children can sense. But it wasn't always that way.
This was the capitol of Virginia in Revolutionary War times, but over 150 years a lot of buildings changed, deteriorated and were torn down. Then along came the Rockefellers in the 1930s. A local minister had dreamed of the town being restored to its former beauty and to the glory it once had. And that was the beginning of a whole new episode in the history of Colonial Williamsburg. It was really something rundown until someone committed his resources to restoring it.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How You Can Make It Through Your Wreckage."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the Old Testament prophet Joel. It's in chapter 1, verse 4. "What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten." What we're getting here is an image here of like total destruction in the land.
It's symbolic, because verse 6 says, "A nation has invaded my land, powerful and without number; it has the teeth of a lion, the fangs of a lioness. It has laid waste my vines and ruined my fig trees. It has stripped off their bark and thrown it away, leaving their branches white." So the Bible is talking about something here that is a devastating past. And maybe that can be applied to your past.
And then comes the hope. Chapter 2, verse 25: "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten - the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm." Then he says, "Then you will know that I am in Israel; that I am the Lord your God and there is no other. Never again will my people be ashamed." Now, for sure, this is specific to that time and this people, but also in a secondary world we can apply it to many when you need a great restoring work is your only hope.
Time and neglect had done a lot of damage to old Colonial Williamsburg. The locusts had done the job. But then someone with a lot of resources committed themselves to restoring it. And that commitment made all the difference. In many ways that's Joel's picture here. God has seen the wreckage of the past. He knows sometimes maybe that you have sort of that Humpty-Dumpty feeling: all the kings horses and all the kings men can't put you together again. But the King can.
A Christian psychiatrist once told me, "Ron, I think only a Christian can dare to truly face his or her past." Yes, because you're not facing it alone. You're facing it with a Savior, the healer, the carpenter who rebuilds what others have given up on. There is a Savior who will walk with you through those memories and help heal them, who will put them in perspective, who can loosen their grip on you. That Savior can give you a brand new identity; not being the victim any more, but the victor. He can turn your pain into sensitivity and compassion for the pain of others. And then He can make you a make-a-difference person for those who are walking through that same valley. Something deeply healing happens when you take Jesus Christ into each painful episode from your past. The Bible says, "He's carried all our grief and sorrows."
You don't have to be trapped in the wreckage of the past any longer. Jesus stands poised with His infinite resources to tackle the damage that you could never fix and to restore a new beauty that you never thought possible.
And listen with me to the words from a hymn that captures that restoring miracle. It says, "Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, feelings lie buried that grace can restore. Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, cords that are broken will vibrate once more." That's what Jesus could do for you this very day.