• Ashten Johnson

A journey of restoration

"After you have suffered a little while, [He] will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10. I posted this verse two years ago today. No commentary. Just the verse. It was one of those verses I wanted to believe in so much that I posted it on faith, hoping that it would happen for me, even though it seemed like the fulfillment of this promise might not happen for a while. Now at the time, I had just bought my townhouse and was in a pretty good place all things considered, but I certainly did not feel "restored." Sure, some days I felt strong. Some days I felt firm. It really just depended on the day. But I hoped that perhaps the whole of this promise was truly for me. I posted the verse as an act of defiance against the enemy. Look devil... this is what God says. And look how much I believe it... it's on facebook! And looking back, I do think that helped. I forced myself to believe in God's promise even when I could not see his plan for fulfillment. Fast forward a year. One year ago this week I posted the same verse as a caption on a photo from the beach (alright, I'll admit it: a selfie from the beach). In between posting the verse in May 2014 and posting it again the same week in May 2015 (unknowingly), I had completed a LIFE group and had just finished co-leading my first LIFE group. I had developed some amazing friendships that continue to shape my life. I had developed a much more compelling prayer life. I was filled with expectation for those things I was praying for. I actually did feel strong. Not every day. But often. One year ago I posted the verse as a verse of thanksgiving. I knew God was not done yet. For the loss I sustained, the restoration I sought was more Ruth-like than I had yet received. But this time, I posted the verse not so much because I wanted to believe it but because I did believe it. Fast forward another year. When my facebook "on this day" showed the picture of the verse from two years ago, I felt a little overwhelmed. I feel that way a lot these days. Overwhelmed with love. Overwhelmed with joy. Overwhelmed at God's immense goodness. I have come so far from posting a verse about restoration in the hope that maybe that verse would apply to me. I have come so far from believing the verse and having expectation that it would apply to me. Now it is a verse that has manifested itself in my life in more ways than I could have hoped for in 2014 or expected in 2015. Now I know what it means that the Bible is a living document. No, it does not change. But the words in it do change for us, depending on where we are. This one verse was completely different for me in the different stages of my life during which the verse was important. In one season it was a hope. In another season, it was an expectation. In my current season, it is an answered prayer. He himself has restored me. Amen.