ODJ: restored

April 10, 2015 

READ: Psalm 126:1-6 

When the LORD brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! (v.1).

Austin Hatch survived two plane crashes before his 20th birthday! In 2003, a private plane went down, killing his mother and siblings. In 2011, another small plane crashed, and he lost his father and stepmother. After this second tragedy, Austin was in a coma for 2 months.

Only a week before the 2011 crash, Austin had agreed to play basketball for a large university. Hatch’s doctors, however, didn’t believe he would ever play basketball again. Here’s how he described his gruelling recovery: “I had to relearn how to walk and talk. I had to relearn everything. It was like I was born again.”

Amazingly, Austin returned to the court for his senior year of university. In his first game back, his coach called his name and he entered the game. Then, as if in a Hollywood drama, he made his first shot—a three-pointer! The losses Hatch endured cannot be minimised, but the way his life was restored radiates grace.

Israel knew great loss. Overrun by foreign powers and carried into captivity, her history offers many long stretches of sorrow and lament. In one psalm, the prayer of God’s people echoes the memory of how God had renewed them in years previous (Psalm 126:1). God’s kindness, evidenced by releasing His people from their oppressors and bringing them home, spurred great celebration. They “were filled with laughter, and [they] sang for joy” (v.2).

Apparently, however, the people prayed this prayer when they found themselves in another season of sorrow. The celebration had abated. Again they faced ruin. “Restore our fortunes”, the people prayed (v.4).

For many of us, our prayer is for God to move on our behalf again. Heal us again. Cause us to celebrate again. Restore us again.

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: 2 Samuel 18:1-18

Read Psalm 126 once more, line by line. Make Israel’s prayer your own. 
How has God restored and renewed your life in the past? How do you need Him to restore and renew your life today?