I bought an old cupboard a few days ago. I wanted a cupboard with a rustic feel so I went looking for one in all the second-hand shops around town. I found one I liked, paid for it and brought it home to begin working on.
The idea was to clean it up but to keep it the rustic look. As I began to sand it down and clean it up, I believe that God showed me a picture of the work He does in our lives as He restores us.
We come to the Lord as sinners in various stages of disrepair, standing there in the second-hand shop of life. The He pays for us and we become part of His family, welcomed into His house.
As he works on our character there are varying layers of our past to remove. Dust, cobwebs, old layers of paint, dings, and scratches. All of these come from the wear and tear of life, particularly a life lived apart from God. We “paint over” things in our own strength and the layers of pretense, cover-ups, and layers of hiding our true selves build up over time. We lose our handles on reality and end up a mess.
Then He begins to work on us and the layers are stripped away. Some of the old dings and scratches come out, while others are deep and just get smoothed over, scars of poor past decisions. Some of the paint comes off and the true grain of the wood underneath is revealed. Some of the paint, however, sticks, too ingrained to come off without going layers deep. Sometimes this means losing some of the wood, part of ourselves, as we give up things that we have allowed to become part of us.
Door frames are skimmed, hinges are tightened and drawers are sanded down so that everything works properly again, and finally, a new coat is applied. The roughness is smoothed over as we are sealed. We take on a new veneer, protected from the elements and able to reflect the goodness of the new home we find ourselves in.
I know the picture doesn’t work perfectly. Jesus paid once and for all when He died on the cross all those years ago, not each and every time a sinner is saved. Although we get a new Spirit, the new man, in an instant, He doesn’t just work on us once and we’re done. The Holy Spirit is continually working in our hearts to make us more like Jesus and ultimately we will receive our new glorified bodies in heaven.
But I did enjoy my time working with wood. I felt connected to Him somehow. Maybe that’s why of all the things Jesus could have been on this planet He chose to be a carpenter.
I can so imagine Him sanding away at each one of us, stopping every now and then to feel the grain and check for rough patches and splinters. Then sanding again in the areas that require extra attention and checking to see that His work was just right. I can see Him tenderly restoring, connecting with each person. I can see Him loving applying varnish, a new coat, smiling as He draws long, smooth brush strokes up and down the wood, covering us and bringing out the best in us.
Thank You for restoring me, Lord. Thank You for Your continued, patient, loving work on my heart.