The 3 R’s are: Revelation, Repentance, and Restoration.
Revelation. This is not to be confused with end-time prophecy, but rather, think of a light being turned on in a dark room. In 2013, our son had an MRI that revealed a brain tumor. Up until that moment, the tumor was literally hidden in the dark. It was not until the tumor was revealed that we could do anything that would actually help our son get better. This is the kind of revelation that starts the process of transformation. Unlike some good ole’ R&R, revelation is often painful, even scary. The light comes on, and we find tumors, addictions, broken relationships, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and any number of abuses. Revelation can shake the foundations of all that we thought we could count on. With revelation often comes the question, “What now?” Although this is a raw place many of us would not wish for, without revelation, problems are left in the dark, and all they can do is grow.
Repentance. Repentance simply means turning from one direction to a new direction. It is a 180 of the heart. With our son’s tumor, there was nothing to repent of in the traditional sense, but there was a new direction in our home. There had to be — the old ways of helping our son were not what he needed to get well. Repentance will lead to new thinking, new perspectives, new actions, and new directions. Revelation shows us that there is a problem; repentance shows us the old ways do not work. Repentance is when we accept the reality of what has been revealed to us, and we take the humbling steps of accepting responsibility and choosing to go in a new direction. Sometimes repentance is simply accepting the MRI report of a tumor, sometimes it is much more difficult. There are times when our choices in life have led to destructive habits that we need to let go of. We can choose shame which will lead us back to that dark room, or we can muster our courage and repent. There are times when we have been abused, and now we need to let go of lies we believed. We can chose to hold onto those lies and stay in the hurt we are familiar with, or we can chose to believe truth and walk towards freedom. Repentance is hard, because on some level we need to look in the mirror and face where we are, and then make a choice.
Restoration. God uses a variety of things to shed light on areas of our life. This could be: other people, scripture passages, a sermon, a song, prayer, or simply some quiet time in the woods. Often it is a series of things that God works together to help us see clearly. After the hard work of choosing repentance (our one part), God throws open the gates of heaven and starts the process of restoration. When we choose to go in a new direction, we may start out feeling overwhelmed and lost, but God is longing to be faithful and more than willing to help. The challenge for us is not falling back into old ways. Restoration takes time. Things like hurts, habits, and lies did not happen overnight; these are often decades-old, piled on top of each other. To restore something properly takes time and care. With our son’s tumor, we wanted the doctors to take their time. After all, there were delicate things like the brain and optic nerves close to the tumor. There are several masterpieces that were quickly “restored” by amateurs that ended up causing more damage. Rushing in for a quick fix to relieve pain or consequences may seem like a good idea, but will often lead to patchy work that falls apart later. What God wants to do in the restoration process is heal the brokenness of our hearts and minds. Sometimes this healing process may need to undo patchy work, or tear down the work of amateurs. We may have to let go of our own ideas. We may need to listen to new healthy voices. We may need to question and test things to make sure they are true and good. It might not “feel” right to us because we are so used to feeling hurt that we don’t know what healthy feels like. It might not make “sense” to us at first because God is teaching us His ways instead of using our own old ways.
The beauty of the 3 R’s is that God is willing to do two-thirds of the work. God brings the revelation and does the work of restoration; all He asks of us is to choose. God is aware that the repentance part is hard work, but He also knows the choice must be ours. He loves us and wants to show us things that are hurting us; He cares about our brokenness and wants to heal us. God also respects us and wants us to have a chance to choose for ourselves. He understands many of us may not choose His ways, but He is loving and will not give up on us even if other people do. When some R&R doesn’t seem to last, and your heart is heavy no matter what you do, perhaps it’s time to pray about the 3 R’s.
In His Name, Bonnie
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.