God is a Father who longs to restore what has been broken, lost or destroyed.
Many people have lost much during the pandemic days, and it is not lost on God. He yearns to restore.
When Bennett was a boy, we gave him a remote-controlled helicopter for Christmas. Well, in hindsight, I gave us a remote-controlled helicopter for Christmas. It was a black Aviator RC, a real beauty. Bennett was eager to fly it, but I was more eager. We decided to wait until our winter beach trip for the chopper’s maiden flight. Like Orville and Wilbur Wright, Alan and Bennett Wright walked bravely through North Carolina coastal dunes with aircraft in hand. I wanted to go first but acquiesced after whining a bit. He flew the chopper with skill above the dunes, negotiating the beach winds carefully and returning the helicopter safely. It looked exhilarating.
“Bennett,” I pleaded. “Can I have a turn now?”
“I don’t know Dad. I’m afraid you’ll lose control of it. It’s not so easy.”
“Oh, come on. How hard can it be? Please!”
Reluctantly, the boy turned the remote control over to the dad.
“That’s high enough,” Bennett exclaimed as I directed the helicopter higher than he had. “Dad!!”
I don’t know what happened.
It was like a drug. I couldn’t stop myself. I had to fly it higher. The wind flung the helicopter 50 yards away as the controller shook in my hand. With no contact with the remote control, the toy was at the mercy of the beach winds. We watched helplessly as the Aviator slammed into the side of a three-story ocean front house and shattered into pieces. My flight was shorter than the Wrights’ at Kitty Hawk.
Bennett didn’t say anything. He just went inside to be alone.
After giving him a moment, I followed Bennett inside. What does a father say when he’s shattered his son’s new toy helicopter?
“I’m going to get you another one.”
Loving fathers long to restore their child’s broken dreams.
You can hear the Father heart of God in Jeremiah’s words to the people of God stuck in exile in Babylon:
“This is what the Lord says: ‘I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place.’” (Jeremiah 30:18, NIV)
“I will restore”—that’s God’s longing. God grieves the brokenness of the exiles. He takes no delight in your troubles. He mourns your broken dreams and has compassion upon your travails. He loves to restore. And that’s the Gospel!