Microsoft has formally launched the final revision of its Windows operating system for PCs. It’s called Windows "Me"—short for Windows Millennial Edition.
One feature of Windows Me that has caused a stir is its new "system restore" feature. How does it work? Suppose you suffer a system crash on your computer this Thursday. You're not a computer expert, and you don't know how to recover the last two weeks of financial information you entered Wednesday, your daughter's history report she started writing Monday, or your favorite game. All you have to do is select "system restore" and specify the date to which you want your machine reset. Voila! Problem solved. All the things you somehow messed up are put back in their configuration as of that earlier day.
Wouldn't you like to market that feature for human lives? Do you think you could supply it fast enough to keep up with the demand? Bob would "system restore" to the day before he began the affair. Sue would go back to the day before she tampered with payroll data. Ivan would choose the day before the big fight that caused his son to run away from home.
Maybe you can remember the day when things crashed for you—and you'd give anything you own to restore things to the way they were.
God won't erase all the consequences of our actions, but he promises things far better: to forgive us, to work for the highest good even through what is bad, and one day to make all things new.
What Windows Me calls "system restore" God calls redemption.
In the United States, businesses use millions of wood pallets each year to haul products. After a pallet has borne heavy, sometimes crushing weights and taken abuse from truck travel and forklifts, eventually it can no longer be used. Now cracked and smashed, or loose and floppy, pallets are something businesses must pay other companies up to five dollars per pallet to dispose of. Disposal companies burn the pallets, chew them into wood chips, or dump them in landfills.
One nonprofit company in New York had a better idea, writes Andrew Revkin in the New York Times. Big City Forest in South Bronx takes other companies' junk and turns it into treasure. The raw material of pallets is valuable hardwoods like rosewood, cherry, oak, mahogany, and maple. Big City Forest workers dismantle the pallets, salvage the usable wood, and recycle it into furniture and flooring. Recycled wood chips are worth only $30 a ton. But when used as flooring the value of the recycled wood is $1,200 a ton, and as furniture $6,000 a ton.
If that is what can be done with lifeless wood, how much more can people be restored to lives of value. Like Big City Forest, God is in the business of restoration. He takes people that seem worthless, people broken by the weight of sin, and transforms them into works of beauty and usefulness.
New Creation, Regeneration, Renewal, Worth Ps. 23:3; Isa. 61:3; 2
Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers
Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 227.