I will never forget the day in 1970 when I acquired the wreck of a 1934 Alvis Speed 20 car. It was already 36 years old and in an unbelievably impossible condition. Most sensible people would have consigned it to the scrap heap without any hesitation!
The problem is that emotions can have a nasty habit of clouding one’s judgement, so that anything but sensible decisions are made! The truth was, I had fallen in love with the dream of owning an Alvis Speed 20. So, when I acquired the wreck, I didn’t see the sad remains of a hopeless case, I saw in my mind both the gleaming beauty that had left the Alvis factory in 1934 and what the car would look like when I had fully restored it to its former glory. The magnitude and near impossibility of the task that lay ahead of me never entered my head – all I could see was the restored car and enjoy driving it in my dreams.
So, I wasn’t ready or prepared for what God would do in the very early hours of Friday June 19th 1970. As I looked at the wreck of my Alvis Speed 20 I realised that the chassis itself was bent and, possibly irreparable. Tears began to roll down my cheeks. And then it was that God spoke! To me it was as clear as an audible voice which echoed within my spirit, “You could restore this broken car, but I can restore broken lives.” And then He asked, “Which is more important?”
It was in those precious moments, that in a few seconds of earthly time I caught a glimpse of timeless eternity. I saw things that I’m still unpacking. I saw into the heart of God and with His eyes I looked at the wrecks of broken lives – hundreds of them, thousands and millions of them. And there on the sidelines was Satan grinning over the lives he had wrecked and which he was wanting to send to the scrap-heap, without hope.
As I looked I sensed the joy there had been in God, when each life had been created in all its pristine beauty. But then I saw His tears at the wrecks that so many of these people had become. Finally, however, I became aware of the joy that would be His, if those broken lives could be restored as their maker had intended them to be, and for which His Son had died.
I realised that God’s emotions over broken lives were not dissimilar in nature to the ones I had experienced when I looked at the wreck of a broken car – only broken lives are much more important than broken cars. God never shrinks from the magnitude of the task. In Him there are no hopeless cases – none are beyond the healing love of a God who is passionate about His creation.
The thrill I have had in restoring the car, is nothing compared with the thrill there is in the heart of God when he sees one of His children restored in His image and likeness. The healing ministry is not, intrinsically, about making people feel better so they can carry on living self-centred lives, it’s about the restoration of God’s order in their lives so that they can live in the destiny God prepared for them in advance – and which the enemy has so assiduously tried to rob them of.
God was right, I could restore that broken car, but it’s taken me forty two years to do it! Forty years longer than my longest initial estimate, during which God has been doing the work of restoring thousands of broken lives. And in those forty two years I’ve driven that car thousands of trouble-free miles in my dreams!
But later this year, when the car’s finished and the dream has become reality, I intend to drive it to all our UK Centres and across the Channel to our Dutch Centre as well. The car has been restored to run and so I will be conducting a new training course at each centre, simply called Restored to Run – because that’s what God wants to do with each one of our lives, restore them so we are able to run the race of life.