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?
Josh — thank you for writing this post (and for that matter, thank you for ALL of your writings!) — I am blessed & challenged — thank you!
Okay — what helps me to forego relief in order to reap the benefits of restoration?
Sometimes being sick-&-tired of being sick-&-tired. Often times I’m strengthened to persevere by listening to awesome worship music (like I’m listening to as I write this). And sometimes it’s a friend’s enCOURAGEment.
Other times it’s remembering what PAPA has done for me in the past. Or reading His Word — aloud.
And last, but not least, sometimes it’s writing — even if it’s only commenting on another person’s blog! 😉
Thanks, again, Warrior Prince Bro-Joshua!
Thanks, Melanee. I appreciate these ideas!
That we are not here to be happy so to speak but for a reason. Thinking that God is gonna solve every burden cure every sickness and relieve every suffering is wrong. Thats why ppl in sexual sin feel like when God says deny yourself Hes harsh. I tell ppl with inappropriate affection no you cant b who u feel like being bc the flesh will destroy you
We are called to suffer
I think about this a bit differently — God is willing to lift every burden, cure every sickness, and relieve every suffering, but it may or may not happen yet.
The ache we feel when burdens remain, sicknesses go unhealed, and suffering continues is ultimately an ache for eternity, for God’s Kingdom. And so our desire to be relieved of suffering is good.
The question I’m trying to raise in this post is whether or not we’ll allow Christ to relieve our suffering through restoration (which may take time and may even not be fully realized until eternity) or if we’ll make relief an idol we chase after at the expense of restoration.
In light of this blog, John Eldredge’s “The Utter Relief of Holiness” is a must-read.
Thanks for this, Dennis!
Great stuff! Love the distinction between relief and restoration – God make us long for wholeness rather than the quick fix!
Wow… this came at the right time. I injured myself recently helping a friend move and then today I am really having a strong urge to connect with women who are not my wife. My body desires relief from pain and boredom. What I need is restoration. Thank you Josh for your words. Your words and God are keeping me pressing on. Stay strong!