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He restores my soul - a reflection from Graham Howell

In thinking about verse 3 of Psalm 23, “… he restores my soul”,  I was led to think about another verse that I have meditated on over the last few years.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-17

I definitely feel the outer “wasting away”. I will be 67 in July. I am not as steady on my feet as I once was, and it’s hard for me to get up off the floor when I play with my grandchildren. They can run faster, leap higher, play longer than me. That’s a reality and it is not likely to get better. I’m in the fall of my life and I want desperately to leave a legacy as a faithful follower of Christ to my children and grandchildren and all who know me. (Psalm 71:8)

But what about this part - the “inner self is being renewed day by day”?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have an inner self chart that shows a steady upward rise in spiritual fruit and joy. Perhaps a spiritual renewal app like the one that measures steps I take in a day! Each day's column is just a little higher than the day before; steady upward sanctification. Sadly, mine is not like that. It’s jagged with lots of ups and downs. Sometimes 2 steps forward and three steps back. There are times when I feel the accuser shouting at me that I am not being renewed and the inner self is wasting away just like the outer self. Shame seems always to be at my side telling me I’m not good enough, questioning my motives, and whispering that I have nothing of substance to offer. Sometimes shame is subtle, sometimes loud but always there. 

I’m trying to pay more and more attention to the second part of the verse. “Look not to the things that are seen but to those things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal”. I am a new creation in Christ. The old has passed away: behold the new has come. (2nd Cor. 5:17). There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ have been set free… (Rom. 8:1). I need to look at Jesus who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1)  I will not face eternal shame because Jesus has taken all my shame on the cross. I look forward to a day when I shed all my sins and struggles and the shame that so taunts me. It’s not now and some days are hard, really hard, but the day is coming, for sure it is coming.


Graham and Laurie have been members of Northside Church of Richmond since February 2015 and Graham has been a ruling elder at NCR since March 2017. I love NCR because it challenges me to keep growing in my faith and "still bear fruit in my old age." I can't imagine doing life without you all.

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  1. So thankful for your faithful witness and honest testimony, Graham. Your walk is an inspiration to me and so many others! Glad to be in this season together...

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