I think restoring furniture may be God’s way of speaking to me these days.
You may have read my post about being restored and how God spoke to me through the restoration process of a vintage dresser. As I began a new 1800s piece that was gifted to me by a dear friend, I again heard God’s still small voice. I quickly realized that the gorgeous, vintage piece that stole my heart is fragile, weak, and crumbling in spots. This chair will need to be handled with care and special attention.
If I am being honest, I didn’t want to take the time to really sand and prep this piece because I am impatient and, like many of us, I want instant gratification. So I grabbed my fragile, priceless piece and began to spray paint it a beautiful cream color.
It only took about 30 seconds to realize this was not going to be what’s best for this piece long-term. To cherish and truly restore the chair, I need to clean and prep it before finishing it with new paint. At first I thought, “Is this how it is with us, Lord? When we are too old and just too fragile are you done working on us? Do you just put a coat of paint on us and hope it looks okay and lasts? And when there’s no more hope do you just discard us?”
I immediately thought about someone in my life that I often think is never going to change and that God may be done with and that they just might be “too old and set in their ways” to change. This is the point when I realized I was going to need to do some gentle repairs as well as some light sanding if I truly cared about the outcome of this priceless piece.
Through this, God showed me that he is never “done” working on us nor are we un-restorable. Some pieces need different equipment or a gentler hand. They may never look brand new and may still be fragile and broken in spots but the beauty is in the age of the piece, not the condition.
The maker of this vintage heirloom didn’t intend for it to end up broken and dumped. It was made for a purpose but time, life, treatment, and weather affected the chair drastically. God also reminded me that his work looks different than our work; and how quickly we give up on people and want people to change instantly. We also feel we can save, fix, and finish people with our own strength, when ultimately God is the one who is doing the work.
As I was working on this piece I found myself a little irritated because my hand sander needed to be repaired, the battery to my cordless sander needed to be charged, and it was getting dark in my work space so I was struggling to do the work properly. This reminded me how we often want to do or say the right thing, but our tools are not working right, they need to be charged, or we just can’t see the situation clearly and need to wait until there is enough light to do or say the right thing.
Sometimes we need to work on our own hearts, be poured into, rest, and pray for God to work so hearts will be softened. We need to trust in his perfect timing. Even though I want to be done now I know that if I take the time to do it correctly it’s going to be worth it. I also know that even though it will take me longer, God is going to use that time to teach me really beautiful things I never would have learned had I just thrown a coat of paint on and moved onto the next project.
God is in control and doing the work in people’s hearts; we are just the tools that he uses. He calls us to LOVE people and to do his work with care and thoughtfulness, meeting people where they are, having patience, using our whole heart, loving gently, and forgiving the way he forgives us.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10