A restoration story

Every fortnight people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life. They hope that you will be encouraged by it.

One of the impacts of Covid 19, and the changes that it has brought for me, has been that I’m not attending many evening meetings.

These days my participation is usually from the comfort of home on Zoom. This has allowed time to watch a little television and one programme I enjoy is ‘Tricked Out Tractors’.

If you are not familiar with it, it’s about how a group of experts restore old tractors to their former glory. Some of the tractors are in such bad shape they might be considered beyond repair, fit only to be scrapped. However, the team see beyond the rust, the flaking paint, and the missing parts, and set about the task of restoration. The end result is a tractor that is fully restored, proving that what appeared to be fit for scrap, can be rescued and made new again.

It is a lovely picture of the Good News that we find in the Bible. No matter how messed up our lives, no matter how often we have failed, or how far we have fallen, the Good News of the gospel is that nobody is too deep in sin to receive the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness of God that is freely offered in Jesus. The Apostle Paul puts it like this, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17.)

Jesus tells a story to illustrate the fact that no one is too bad to be reached by the Father’s love and be restored – it’s the story of the prodigal son and you can read it in Luke 15. The son, who wasted his life, was in a state of ruination and many would have given up on him. When he returns home there is no rebuke, but a wonderful welcome from his father and he is restored to the family.

Maybe that describes your life, where you have made some wrong choices and bad decisions. As a result, just like those old tractors, perhaps you are tempted to think that your life is actually beyond repair. The good news of the Bible is the promise the Lord Jesus Christ gives us, “‘…whoever comes to me I will never drive away’” (John 6:37), or as the old hymn, ‘To God be the glory’ reminds us, ‘the vilest offender who truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.’

Jesus is in the business of restoring, repairing, and renewing broken lives, that is why He went to the cross and died. No matter how far we have fallen, the Bible reminds us that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

Story after story is told through its pages of those who had fallen, who let God down, and who failed - yet were restored. King David, the Apostle Peter, to name but two, or Jonah, who disobeyed but wasn’t abandoned by God, for we read “the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time” (Jonah 3:1). Had it been written then, how Jonah would have sang heartily the hymn, ‘Praise my soul the King of Heaven’, which includes these wonderful words, ‘ransomed healed restored forgiven’ - and so can we be healed, restored and forgiven, as we turn to the One who is the Master restorer.

Robin Fairbairn is pastor/evangelist with Ballygowan Presbyterian Church in County Down and also works as ministry development officer with The Good Book Company. He lives in the country and has been farming every Saturday for more years than he cares to admit.

If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at [email protected] or call him on 028 9753 1234.

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