“RE”: The Most Beautiful Prefix in History
“I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Isaiah 44:22 (ESV)
I have no memory of life before hearing the name Jesus.
I was in a crib in the church nursery by the third Sunday after I was born, just like my three older siblings. While our home rocked and quaked with systemic problems that could never get resolved, my parents refused to pull the rug of church out from under our feet.
Some might have called it hypocrisy to keep showing up while all that was going on at home. We would have called it survival.
My adolescence was a knot of inconsistencies. I had a heart for God and a bent for destruction that would tangle within me miserably for years. Because the Holy Spirit does His job, I could never stay in sin. But then I could never stay out of it.
Let’s just say sometimes both limbs have to be broken for the lame to learn to walk. By my early thirties--as blessed as I was, as much as I had, as many as I loved--I would’ve either destroyed my own life or taken it except for one thing: Jesus just kept picking me back up.
It was right there, curled up in a fetal position, bloody from the ugly birth of freedom, I finally gave in to the One who wouldn’t give up.
I could list you a thousand things I love about Jesus. A hundred things that still stir me with wonder but nothing pools tears in my eyes more often than His penchant for doing a thing again and again.
I don’t think any prefix in the English Bible could be more beautiful than “re.” Two little letters that simply mean: “again.” God appears to have a particular affinity for “re” verbs. For instance, “return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22, ESV). It looks like He’d just turn His back on us when we turn our backs on Him, but He doesn’t. Instead He echoes throughout Scripture, “Return to me!”
“Again, Lord? For the fiftieth time? Aren’t You sick of my coming and going yet?”
“Again!” He says.
Return. You’ll find that one “re” verb over 400 times in the Bible.
But that’s not the only fabulous “re” verb in the Bible. Here’s a list of some of my favorites (with emphasis added in bold).
There’s renew: “They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31a, ESV).
And revive: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15b, ESV).
And restore: “He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3a, ESV).
And repair. Oh, and rebuild and sometimes in the same verse: “In that day ‘I will restore David’s fallen shelter--I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins--and will rebuild it as it used to be’” (Amos 9:11, NIV).
And replant: “I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 36:36b, ESV).
Astonishingly, there appears to be no limit to what God will lovingly and lavishly redo and refresh for those simply willing to return and repent.
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago” (Acts 3:19-21, ESV).
Simon Peter is Exhibit A for those of us in Christ who could use a redo.
“And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren’” (Luke 22:31-32, NKJV).
You might call that Pete and Re-Pete.
So, you blew it again? Been rejected again? Been broken again? Fallen in that trap again? Been foolish again? Faithless again? I know a Savior willing to put you back together again.
Go back to Jesus. Yes, you get to return, because “re” is the most beautiful prefix in history.
Our all-glorious God and Father, we are awed by Your grace, patience and love. Thank You for the endless power of resurrection because of the cross of Christ. Apply it to us lavishly this day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Zechariah 1:3 “Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (NIV)