This past week I went to have coffee at a friend’s house. As I was standing in her kitchen my eyes were drawn to piece of furniture in the corner. It was a cabinet, old, but beautifully refinished. It was made of real wood, not the pressed together kind so much is built from today, and it had been painted white, still keeping its antique charm. I commented on how lovely it was. She began to share with me how she found it.
It had been in an old shed on her father’s farm, a building that was to be torn down. This beautiful shelf had been covered in dirt and oil, and the droppings from small creatures that lived in the abandoned building, and it was scheduled to be burned. She looked at it and saw not what it was at the time, but what it could be with some work. She rescued it, and then she went to work. It was no small job and it took many hours to give it a facelift and reveal what beauty laid beneath the surface. Looking at it that day I would never have guessed how she had found it.
She shared with me how it reminded her how God sees us, He sees what He wants us to become, the potential we have, the person He created us to be.
My husband also visited and had coffee with someone, a new believer, re-entering his walk with God. He shared about his life, where he had been, and the struggles he had faced, and the bad choices he made along the way. He also shared of how when he was reading in the Book of Romans, the Lord was speaking to him about different things in his life that needed to change. He saw that we are all born as sinners, but that because of the righteousness of Christ, and what Jesus has done for us, it spoke to him that if God would do that for us, we must have some measure of value to Him.
Too many times we look at ourselves, and others, as being too messed up, too dirty, too old, to be beautiful or useful. We see the mess, the enormity of the clean up job, and we become convinced that there’s no way we, or they, can be redeemed. It would so much easier to just forget it, throw it all away. But the eyes that know us best see the beauty that lies beneath the surface. He can clean up the worst situation. He lovingly sands off the dirt and oil, revealing solid wood that can be refinished anyway He chooses, and no matter what he chooses it will be stunning.
Just like my friend didn’t just paint over the dirt and stains, she removed them carefully so that there would be a new finish, God doesn’t just cover over our sin, he removes it as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12). He’s in the process of restoring us, creating a masterpiece of God (Ephesians 2:10), displaying His glory! God loves us more than we know. Like a craftsman, a painter, a sculptor; God is in the business of taking wood, old canvases, and even what others consider “junk”, and creating beautiful masterpieces! And the work He began, He will complete (Phil 1:6) so His glory will be revealed in us! (Romans 8:18)