God of the Shadows (Part 2)

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 He restores my soul.  (Psalm 23:3)

I want God to look like me.

Not physically, of course, but to share my values, to reaffirm the way I see myself, to make me comfortable with who I am.

As I said last week, “To restore my soul.”

I want my soul to be restored—especially the way I define it.

Restored. It means that our hearts are not heavy, that we feel good about the world and ourselves. You know… generally upbeat and positive, blessed. It means we and our God live in a place of light and brightness

Or does it?

Could the whole of Psalm 23 hinge on that one word? RESTORES

What does it mean in that context? What is restoration in any other context? It is absolutely fascinating what skilled restorers can do with a worn-out piece of junk. Some sandblasting, a bit of pounding and smoothing, perhaps a new wiring harness, an expert paint job . . . and a rusted, vintage car reclaims its original beauty and functionality.  Some trim, a few coats of paint, new plumbing . . . and a dilapidated shack becomes a home.

That’s what it means to restore.

And so it is with this verse.  I like Martin Luther’s translation here:  “He quickens my soul.”  Restoring our souls is not about making us comfortable, or us feeling good. It is about putting our hearts right. About getting them where they ought to be. Quickening. About making them functional for His purposes.

Perhaps when our hearts are quickened—restored—we can encounter God in different places; the places where He is most comfortable, among the people who capture His heart.

Perhaps we can meet the God of the shadows in places of darkness, of pain, of need, and even of evil. Because it is truly in these places of greatest darkness that the God of Light appears most brightly.

Perhaps we can learn to be followers.

Not just believers. Followers.

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