Sunday, October 16, 2011
A New Coat of Paint
About a month ago, I moved into a new apartment. I was SO excited about decorating my bedroom because for several months now, I’ve had a vision of a very feminine, very fancy purple and white bedroom. Part of the preparation for moving meant that I would need to re-paint my antique iron bed. I woke up one Saturday feeling ambitious, so I got out in the backyard with my bed, some sandpaper, and a can of white spray paint.
Have you ever sanded anything? It’s not fun. It’s hard work, for one. Second, the little sand granules come off and get stuck between your toes, because you are wearing flip-flops because you didn’t know how dirty your feet were going to get. Because unlike Jesus, you are not a carpenter. So, I’m sanding. I’m sweating (because it’s August in Arkansas) and I’m sanding. And as I sanded away at the spots where the previous coat of paint had chipped away, the Holy Spirit began showing me something. In order to put a new coat of paint on this old, rusty bed, I have to make the rough places smooth. If I don’t, the new paint won’t stick. And I can’t just sand the big spots, I have to hit every crevice and curve of this piece of furniture to ensure that it is ready for the white paint.
As I rubbed the sandpaper into even the unnoticeable corners, I thought—this reminds me of what God does with our hearts. He takes us as we are—chipped, beat up, flaky, and having seen better days. And then He begins His restorative work in our hearts. And it is painful. If my iron bed could talk (which would probably mean I’m having some sort of spray-paint fume-induced hallucination) I’m sure it would have given voice to some painful moments as I scrubbed away with the sandpaper. But that was the only way to make smooth the rough places. I knew how great my bed was going to look once I finished my work on it. I did it to improve the overall appearance and value of this piece of furniture. But I first had to expose the weak spots so that I could repair them.
Doesn’t God have this way of doing that to us? I don’t know about you, but my weak spots seem to get a lot of scrubbing with sandpaper. Part of me thinks that getting a rubdown with actual sandpaper might be less painful than the figurative scrubbing that I sometimes receive. Broken relationships. Feelings that are hurt too easily. Insecurity. Fear of rejection. And all of that, sometimes, before lunch.
So where is the hope for those of us with chipped paint? Our hope comes from knowing that we have a Master who wants us, who values us even when we are rusty, old and flaky. He can see past our problems to our potential. Though we can’t see past our circumstances, He can see the end result of his vigorous restoration of our lives, and He won’t give up until His vision is accomplished. It’s scary. No one likes to have our wounds rubbed raw. But if we belong to Christ, we must trust in our Master’s vision for our lives. It is not easy. But it is worth it.