Guest Post: Redeeming Our Renovation
JeskyBera here. This lovely post was written by my thoughtful, wise sister, Whitney Messer. Whitney's beautiful analogy here calls out something I am more convinced of all the time: it's the dings and knotholes that really make us unique and worthwhile.
This post originally appeared on the blog of The Hope Center in Plano, TX
I’ve spent more time in hardware stores in the past two months than I have in my entire life. I’m looking for just the perfect knobs for a sofa table I am refinishing. It started out as this forgotten, dusty, old piece of furniture - dinged up and worn out, and I’m hoping to revive it again. Actually, that’s not really the origin of this table. Behind the dust, old lacquer, and dings there was once a lustrous, mahogany table. One that someone bought because they wanted it - because it was beautiful. Sometime in between now and then, it got worn out. And yet, there is greater beauty in this third go-around for this beat-up piece of furniture.
With the rise of shows like “Fixer Upper,” - I’ll admit, I’ve binge-watched it all! - there’s a marked interest in making things beautiful again. (Now I know what shiplap is!) There’s something old and beautiful back there that just needs a little love to look wonderful again.
I used to think that by refinishing an old piece, I was taking something fundamentally yucky and turning it into something pretty. I’m reminded that all of these things - my mahogany table and the shiplap that once was - didn’t start out old and dusty. They once were brand new. Mankind has a similar history. Genesis 1 reminds us that God created us in his likeness - “...Let us make man in our image…” (Genesis 1:26 ESV). We were created not just as ornamental additions to the Garden; we were created in the image of God, and it was “very good” (Genesis 1: 31 ESV). Something happened a few short chapters later. Here came the dust, the weathered, old paint, the dings, and knot holes that had us looking fit only for the garage sale pile. As Christians, we know we are redeemed. God buys us right off the clearance rack and renews us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). God breathes into us new creation. A change of ownership occurs, and there is a true and living spirit that dwells within us.
It’s a complicated journey, though, because we are still in that dinged-up state: mind and body. We even live in a world marred by sin, and we, broken, still wait “with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:18 ESV). We wait for the time “...creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21 ESV). God acts as our “Fixer Upper” exemplar. He allows the world to sand us down; he repaints, and adds the beautiful hardware that makes us look brand new - that’s our sanctification.
But recognizing that my restored piece of furniture had a life before makes me realize the value of my restoration. I’m not just restoring this table to its original beauty; I’m enhancing the beauty it has obtained along the way. It’s the dings and knot holes - the battered history - of this piece of furniture that makes it so worthwhile. As Christians, our restoration is similar. Our sanctification isn’t simply sending us in reverse - back to our former way before the Fall. We are being transformed daily with a loving concern for the beating we’ve received along the way.If we aren’t convinced it’s true - consider the resurrected body of Jesus. Jesus subjected himself to the sinful world and literally received a beating from it. God divinely orchestrated it as such and even subjected Jesus to a death on a cross. Yet, when Jesus visits the disciples after the resurrection, his scars are still present (John 20:27 ESV).
If Jesus, the son of God, bears the scars left from his earthly suffering on his resurrected body, how much more ought we to value the scars - the scratches, dings, and wobbly, rusty joints we carry around with us every day. Our scars, no less than the scars of Jesus, point to God’s redemptive restoration project. It makes me wonder if - when are waiting is over and we finally meet God and understand what it means to be the “children of God” in glory, we won’t still bear marks of the beatings we got here in the groaning world of sin.
Perhaps we will be like my restored table - not just facades of the original product - but something greater and more beautiful. Perhaps the world’s relentless sanding us down and the coats of fresh varnish will usher us into God’s kingdom more radiant than before. Perhaps God will affix that new piece of hardware and have us enter his gates with a greater and more beautiful purpose. Because, now we bear on our bodies the testament to his grace, the steadfastness of his mercy, and the refining fire that he gave us which allows us to glorify him all the more.