This morning I started restoring an old church pew. As I was in the process of sanding it down I began thinking about how God goes about restoring us.
As I looked at the old piece of wood in front of me I saw all the scratches, stains and dirt that the pew had compiled over many years. There is nothing about sanding that would feel good to the wood. I don’t even like touching the sand paper with my bare hand much less having it rubbed back and forth over my skin. But sanding is necessary to bring about restoration. Sanding is necessary to remove everything that has been placed, or gathered, on the original naked piece of wood.
There was one stain (not sure what it is) that really stood out to the eye on the seat of the pew. As the operator of the sander I couldn’t wait to begin sanding that spot to see if it would ultimately begin to fade away. After paying close attention to that one spot it faded considerably. It’s now only noticeable to the eye that knew it was there before and seems to add character to the current state.
I believe God, in some ways, looks forward to working on my spots and stains to help them become less noticeable in me. Even when He’s done working on me, parts of those spots and stains are still with me, because they are part of my experiences. The difference is they are no longer the first thing people see, and hopefully they are no longer keeping others from seeing the Creator within me.
At times it’s truly difficult to cooperate fully with God as He goes about “sanding” me. The reality is I get use to a certain state with all the stains and irregularities. Change is painful to some degree or another. I understand it is this pain that will keep me depending on God, but who likes pain? I am sure God gets frustrated with me in my moments of resistance but I’m thankful that he remains faithful and keeps sanding me. Over the years I believe I’ve become less and less fearful of what God is doing and I’m learning, ever so slowly, to live in that place of blind trust during those moments of restoration.