I had the great privilege to be invited to speak at Wenatchee First Assembly of God’s women’s retreat earlier this Fall. Our theme was He makes all things beautiful in His time based on Ecclesiastes 3:11.
In our first session together we explored God’s Redemptive Goodness.
A Time for Everything Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Some of you are now humming the song by The Byrds “Turn, Turn, Turn”.
Seriously, though can God truly redeem goodness from everything? Can He make all things beautiful? When things are dead, uprooted, torn down, scattered? When they feel hopeless, thrown away like garbage, or when there is silence, hatred, and war?
And through Christ, God has brought all things back to himself again—things on earth and things in heaven. God made peace through the blood of Christ’s death on the cross. ~ Colossians 1:20
There is an ugliness to this life and the world we live in. So many things in that list that we fear, so much suffering, hurt, and destruction.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. ~ Psalm 130:7
Full redemption is possible. God can bring ALL Things back to himself, He can make All things beautiful. He can do this because of His goodness!
There is no other God besides me. I am the only good God. I am the Savior. There is no other God. ~ Isaiah 45:21b NCV
Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows. ~ James 1:17 NCV
It is important to distinguish that evil was never in God’s plan for our lives. These bad things develop outside of His perfect will for our lives. Mankind steps out of God’s plan and creates pain, disobedience, war, selfishness, slavery, and unrest.
“God created nothing evil. It is we who brought forth wickedness.” ~ Tatian, the Assyrian, 2nd Century Theologian, Book of Common Prayer
“Evil is all that lacks the goodness of God.” ~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
All is not lost because a Good God makes restoration possible!
Restoration is not a magic wand that God waves over the destruction in our lives and poof we are all better. Restoration is a process. God’s redemption does not make evil good, it extracts goodness from these situations so there is purpose and nothing is wasted.
Restoration is not a quick, prefabricated project that is thrown together. It is a deliberate and planned removal of the unwanted, a detailed refining of that which is to be preserved, and an addition of that which was not before. ~ Barbara Stephens, Psalms of Recovery: Meditations for Strength and Hope
Barbara Stephens indicates that restoration is a three-step process: remove, refine, and add.
This is the redemption story – God removes our sin and separation from Him, He refines who we are, and He adds what is missing.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? [sounds like our list above]…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:35, 37 NLT
Our circumstances do not change God’s character! God does not change and His love for us does not change.
We have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Until we can come face-to-face with the deepest darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know him. ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Are you redeemed? Reconciled to God?
Have you received Salvation? The full redemption of being brought back to Christ?
If so then you are unable to be separated from God’s love no matter what has happened.
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” ~ Isaiah 44:22
Respond to the offer of redemption God has offered you…please don’t wait!
Are there other things that need to be redeemed in your life?
Is there something God wants to reveal to you in HIS time? Is He saying now is the time to beautify or redeem ____________ (fill in the blank)? Restoration and refinement are always possible.
Can you give God permission to redeem goodness from All things in your life?
Lord, we pray over the hidden corners of our hearts and lives, reveal to us where you are patiently waiting to redeem goodness. Let us stand on the truth of your never changing character and your unfailing love. Reveal yourself to us in your perfect timing.