Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Does Your Soul Need Restoring?

By on August 13, 2010

The Christian’s life is not without its challenges. “In this world you shall have tribulation,” our Master has said (John 16:33). Jesus certainly faced severe circumstances, and then reminded His followers that “the servant is not greater than his master” (John 15:20). Sometimes the exigencies of life so work upon us that we ultimately find ourselves with depleted strength. If we have faced these challenges in our own strength, we will soon discover that our human reserves are spent.. Coming to the end of ourselves we will find that the only answer is spiritual in nature. We need to be “restored.

David’s depiction of himself as a simple, totally dependent sheep, includes the reminder that our Good Shepherd “restores our soul” (Psalm 23:3). This is a picture more understood by shepherds than the rest of us. Every shepherd knows that sheep are at their most vulnerable moment when they are also at their point of greatest potential. Heavy, perhaps pregnant, and with full fleece, a sheep can, in a moment of carelessness, suddenly find itself on its back. Such a “cast” sheep has no capacity to right itself in spite of all struggles. It is totally dependent upon the shepherds faithfulness to look for, find, and turn the sheep over, or “restore” it.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself in that position more often than I care to report. Maybe you find yourself there just now. If so, call out to the Great Shepherd of your soul, and depend upon Him for restoration. It was at such a moment in my own life some years ago that I wrote the following verses.

When earth is hard, and ground is bare, and all around is dry,
When flowing water has disappeared, and no cloud’s in the sky,
Remember this, that deep beneath the soil a river’s flowing,
And somewhere, out across the ridge, a mighty storm is growing.
The day will come, the Lord’s ordained, though distant it may seem,
When the mighty storm will give the thirsty ground a full and flowing stream.

Now, when life is hard, and your soul is bare, and your own spirit’s dry,
And when God’s sweet presence has disappeared, and no tear’s in your eye,
Remember this, that deep within your heart a river’s flowing,
And somewhere, out across the ridge, a holy storm is growing.
The day will come, the Lord’s ordained, His stream will o’er you roll,
For He’s the Shepherd, your His sheep…He will restore your soul.

Why not cry out to Him now for the restoration of your soul?

Rejoice evermore!

Tom Elliff

2 Tim 1:12