Recently my wife and I were at a casual dining restaurant for a quick meal when the “catastrophe” happened. As I was reaching into a tray for a piece of bread, I accidentally hit the tray cover that was loosely connected to the tray. In a flash, the plastic cover fell onto a stack of plates. Several of the plates fell to the floor and crashed into pieces around my feet. Needless to say, I attracted the attention of everyone in the place, including the manager, who graciously cleaned up the mess I made!
Sometimes life is like this. Life gets broken. We get broken. We break things. And all that is left around us is a mess.
This happened to the Israelites in the Old Testament. Because of sin, their lives were broken, and they ended up in Babylon as exiles for 70 years. They made a mess of things.
But God didn’t forget them. He promised them restoration, and He delivered on His promise!
One of the psalm writers reflects on the moment God “cleaned up” their mess and restored them to their homeland:
Psalms 126:1-4 (NIV)
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
There was a moment in time “when the Lord restored” Zion’s fortunes. Their failures had cost them practically everything, but God restored what they had lost!
To me, one of the most powerful words in this psalm is the very first one, “when.” A “when” moment is a defining moment. It is a specific moment. It is a moment that can be testified to. A “when” moment is a moment identifying the time of an action or event happening. It is a memorable moment.
The psalmist is describing a very specific moment, event, time in history “when” God did something. It was the moment God “restored.” The psalmist is celebrating a restoration moment—a restoration event—a restoration action and intervention by God!
The moment was so incredible, so unbelievable, so extraordinary that it seemed like a dream. It seemed almost “too good to be happening in real life!” This restoration moment exceeded their best imaginations.
“When” the Lord restores, He exceeds our dreams! His restoration is so thorough, so good, so complete—to the point of it being incredible, and seeming to be “too good to actually be happening!”
Has your life been broken? God has a “when” moment for you, and it begins today! Believe that God can and will restore you from your brokenness. And believe that, as it happens, it will be so good, so complete, so thorough that it will “seem like a dream!”