Restoration Business

Restoration Business

My grandfather was the type of guy that could fix anything. Even if something seemed impossible, he could usually find the solution if he had enough time to think about it or process it. So, when he moved into retirement, he and a friend from church created a restoration business. Most jobs they did were when a company hired to do something had only made the problem worse. Word got out that my grandfather and his friend were good at coming in and cleaning up other people’s messes. Often, they had so many jobs going on at once that they needed an extra set of hands.

So, in high school, I served as those extra sets of hands after my extracurricular activities and especially during the summer. The work included scrapping paint, tearing off poorly adhered roof singles and removing drywall. I did a lot of the deconstruction/demolition work.

On one scorching summer day, I was frustrated and voiced my frustration to my grandfather. I asked him if we could do fun projects, to start from scratch and build something new instead of always starting with the mess first.

God bless my grandfather. He patiently explained to his granddaughter that this was not what he specialized in. He was in the restoration business. And in the restoration business, it was our responsibility to take what was messed up, warped, or broken, and figure out how to salvage the project. Hopefully, we could make something work again, or possibly it could be stronger.

He admitted it wasn’t fun work, and it would have been easier to walk away from the challenging jobs to do something new; start from scratch. He was often called when others had walked off the job and left a mess for others to clean up.  He told me he saw the value of being part of the “clean-up crew” that didn’t just throw away materials that could be reused or used in a new way.

I had thought about that conversation for years. I was reminded of it just this past week as I thought about the brokenness of the world. Yet, the state of brokenness in the world, in humanity, is not new. Rather, in each age, in each generation, it is the result of humanity’s choices. However, regardless of how many times humanity seems to mess things up, God never leaves us. Why? Because our Creator is in the restoration business.

Restoration is the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. Through Jesus Christ, God seeks to restore us to the One to whom we belong, to our original place and condition as God’s beloved. The entire Biblical narrative is about the restoring work of God.

God creates humanity. Humanity messes up by breaking the covenant, breaking relationships with God, others, and themselves. Yet, God is about the restoration work.

God sent his son Jesus to show us that nothing, not even death, can separate us from God. God sent his son Jesus to show us that God is a God of second (or really endless) chances. God can bring life out of what we think are hopeless situations. God is willing to do the restoration work in our lives if we allow God in. The resurrection is the embodiment of God’s restoration work through Jesus Christ.

Dear Friends, hear and believe the Good News. Nothing is impossible unless we give up and do not give our messiness and brokenness over to the Creator and Restorer of all things. In this Holy Week and Easter season, may we remember and celebrate that the One who Created us and to whom we belong…mind, body and soul…is always seeking to restore us through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.


Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister