I’m thankful God does exactly as the 23rd Psalm says: he restores my soul. I know I’ve said something about this before on the church blog, but this is our Psalm for prayer this week, so I’d like to address it again.
I can’t touch my soul. Can’t grab it, give it a good slap, or a loving caress, or a gentle nudge. I can’t touch my soul. But God can! He can restore it. Now, what does he restore it to? To restore something means that it was previously in a state to which you’d like for it to return.
My understanding of this passage is that when the Lord is your shepherd, you don’t lack anything. You may feel like you do, but you really don’t. God intends to restore us to that way of thinking. Learning this and living with this great truth is one of the biggest challenges of the Christian life. The believer really lacks nothing necessary for the soul to be what God intends the soul to be. Isaiah said it this way: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you (26:3). I think that is another way of referring to a restored soul.
The bathroom wars have given me a newfound desire to pray for those young people who are struggling with what some have called gender dysphoria. The world’s solution to such a struggle is to perform a physical change on the person so that their outside is a better match to their inside. This is either through hormone therapy or through sex change surgeries. God’s answer is to get their inside to match to the way their outside already is. His solution is to restore such a young person’s soul.
This is how we should pray for such people. It’s much easier to have an opinion on what people shouldn’t do; it’s a little tougher to be able to advise people on what they should do. From what I’ve read, nearly 100% of gender-confused boys and 90% of gender-confused girls eventually accept their God-given biological sex. Even through common grace, God can restore the soul.
But believers have the great privilege of knowing God through his saving grace. Such grace is effectual, able to correctly teach and lovingly lead somebody to a place where their soul is restored to what God does when he makes people whole. A whole person doesn’t fight with dysphoria, a word that simply means that one is uneasy or dissatisfied with life. A restored soul lies down in green pastures and walks along paths of righteousness beside still waters. This is the very picture of ease and satisfaction.
It is true, no doubt, that nobody will ever experience perfect peace in the same way that God’s people will in their glorified state. But the power of God that keeps us is no less able to restore us to a perfect peace that passes all understanding even in this life. It may not be comprehensively perfect, but it is truly perfect nonetheless.
My heart goes out to those who struggle with their God-given genders. But it doesn’t take too thoughtful of a look to realize that there are many areas of my life in which I am uneasy and dissatisfied as well. Either way, God can restore the soul. This is how I’m praying for me this week, and for our church family, and for my friends who are beset with gender dysphoria.
May God restore our souls!