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Does God Restore Lost Years and What Does That Look Like?

Jennifer Waddle

iBelieve Contributor
Published Apr 17, 2024
Does God Restore Lost Years and What Does That Look Like?

Simply hand the oars to Jesus and let Him row you safely to shore. He truly does restore lost years; of this, you can be sure.

Regret used to find its way back to me, circling my thoughts and reminding me of lost years. All the “should haves” and “could haves” would pull me under, causing undue stress, anxiety, and even depression.

As I did my best to navigate the troubled waters rising against me, Jesus stood up in the middle of my stormy regret and said with absolute authority, “Peace, be still.” It was then that the winds of self-condemnation, along with the waves of lament, were restored by gentle streams of His peace.

My friend, if you’re in the tumultuous boat of past disappointment and painful regret, please remember this: He is able to do immeasurably more than we could think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Simply hand the oars to Jesus and let Him row you safely to shore. He truly does restore lost years; of this, you can be sure. 

Here’s what restoration looks like:

It Looks as Far as the East Is from the West

In Psalm 103:11-12, David says, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

No matter how many seasons are lost to sinful choices, every transgression has been removed by God as far as the East is from the West. To bring this into focus, imagine two giant arrows pointing in opposite directions. Now, watch as your iniquities move at lightning speed, some to the left and some to the right. They are gone, never to return. The Lord has cast them away forever by His great love.

Psalm 103:2-5 says, “Forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Forgiveness, healing, redemption, satisfaction, and renewal…these are the beautiful ways God restores your lost years. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him” (Psalm 103:11). Look up, my friend. Gaze at the vastness of the universe and know that your transgressions are nowhere to be found. In place of them are precious blessings from the Father’s hand. Receive them, embrace them, and be restored by them today.

A Prayer from Psalm 103:

Lord God, I thank You and praise You for being kind, compassionate, and gracious to me. I know that You are slow to anger, abounding in love, and full of mercy. Thank You for not treating me as my sins deserve or repaying me for lost years. Instead, You remove my transgressions from me, as far as the East is from the West. I praise You for restoration and peace today, in the holy name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.

It Looks Fruitful in Abundance

Some of the most disappointing aspects of our lost years are missed opportunities, fruitless endeavors, and wasted gifts and talents. With these losses, it’s hard to believe God can make us fruitful again.

However, Joel 2:25-26 is a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness—miraculous faithfulness. The Lord says, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten - the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts, and the locust swarm - my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you.” 

This passage refers to a difficult time in Judah’s history when they endured opposition, famine, and destruction. Yet, the Lord gave His people great hope when He said, “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations” (Joel 2:19).

God’s restoration of grain, new wine, and olive oil represent His gifts of fruitful abundance. In your life, this might be a reconciled relationship, a thriving ministry, or an overflow of God’s peace. In whatever way the Lord decides to restore your lost years, you can anticipate heavy-laden branches full of abundant fruit for His glory and your good.

A Prayer for Fruitful Abundance:

Heavenly Father, of all the time spent in unfruitful living, You have restored those years a hundred-fold. Thank You, Lord, for sending new life into my relationships, workplace, home, and heart. Help me cultivate the fruit that You produce by spending time in Your word, feasting on True Bread and Living Water. I commit my life to You anew, grateful for the abundance You so faithfully supply. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

It Looks Like a Bright and Beautiful Future

Looking back, all of us have things we wish we could change. But there’s a problem: looking back. Too much time spent in past failures robs us of precious moments in the here and now. Think about all the times you’ve missed out on being fully present with those you love because you’ve been distracted by past hurts, mistakes, or offenses.

It’s time to stop living in peace-stealing regret. Our necks have grown stiff from looking over our shoulders too many times. Instead, let’s ask Jesus for a pair of His glasses to look forward to a bright and beautiful future.

The familiar line in Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” What I love about this verse is the way it speaks of both the present and the future. Goodness and love are the restorative promises that follow us now—all the days of our lives. And we get to dwell in the house of God forever!

When the Lord restores lost years, it happens in real time and for all eternity. Look around. What mighty blessings is God giving you now? Open His Word. What future glory awaits? Resist dwelling in the past; it won’t serve you well. Embrace the here and now, resting in the goodness of God.

One day, all things will be restored. A bright and beautiful future awaits those who put their hope in Jesus. But for now, receive God’s restoration of forgiveness, fruitfulness, and forward-looking faith. Jesus is with you in the boat, standing in the face of your stormy regret saying, “Peace, be still.”

A Prayer for a Bright and Beautiful Future:

Holy God, thank You for turning my gaze away from lost years and blessing me in the present. Today, I count the beautiful blessings around me, attributing them to Your loving hand of mercy. I wait in eager expectation of a bright and beautiful future, of a time when I will see You face-to-face. You are my hope, Lord, my restoration for lost years. Thank You for the love and goodness that follow me all the days of my life. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

More Restorative Resources for Your Journey:

A Powerful Prayer for Restoration
God Longs to Restore You
When You Feel Like You’ve Lost Time

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Martin Dimitrov

Jennifer WaddleJennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayerand is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesnt Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.