We live in a culture addicted to relief.
Whether aspirin, TV, workaholism, gossip, food, or porn, we run to relief at every turn. Why not? If we can experience relief now, why would we not take it?
Because it’s ruining us.
Why? Because individually and collectively we’ve elevated relief over restoration.
Relief is a lessening or removal of suffering. Restoration is when something is brought back to its original goodness. Relief is feeling better. Restoration is becoming better. Relief is easing the pain of the injury. Restoration is when the injury is healed.
It’s possible to have both. You can have restoration and relief. But . . . you can’t have restoration as long as relief is a greater priority for you.
Ask the couple trying to get out of debt whose car just died. Or the athlete who tore her ACL. Ask the recovering addict whose hands are shaking because he wants a fix. Or the woman facing whether to forgive the man who sexually abused her as a little girl. Ask the Christian man with same-sex attractions whose faith and feelings don’t line up.
For each of these, and each of us, relief offers us an out, a by-pass, a simpler, easier way. One that doesn’t require the temporary pain restoration does.
Jesus’ heart resonates. He remembers:
“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Mt. 26:39).
“My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done’” (Mt. 26:42).
And as he died on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?’” (Mt. 27:46).
How can you forego relief for the greater good of restoration in your life or in the life of a loved one? Ask Jesus. He knows.
And find a Christ-centered community of people who will walk with you. For those dealing with sexual and relational brokenness, Regeneration is one of those places (new groups begin soon—join us!).
Restoration may be closer than you think. Or, also possible, it may come fully only when you see Him face to face. But if he who endured the cross and rose again lives in you, restoration is coming.
Don’t let relief steal it from you.
Leave a comment below: What helps you forego the short-cut of relief and endure the painful parts of restoration?