Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Restored Beauty

My brother Dennis used to love to refinish tables, cabinets and anything else he could get his hands on and he was very good at it. He could take an old scratched up table and turn it into something beautiful. Sometimes he would even rescue discarded furniture from the street and haul it home, stripping, sanding, staining and polishing until it was returned to a gorgeous piece of furniture that anyone would be proud to have in their home. 

On one such occasion, Dennis rescued an old china cabinet that someone had put out to the street. It looked pretty awful with scratches, broken glass and missing shelves. After examining the cabinet, his wife informed him that he was not bringing that piece of junk into their house. Dennis just smiled because he could visualize the finished piece in his head. 

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll keep it out here in the garage while I work on it.” 

I was admiring the cabinet, even in its state of disrepair, because I love antiques and unique pieces of furniture. “Wow, this is such a cool cabinet,” I said, running my hands over the wood. “I can hardly wait to see what it looks like when you’re finished working on it.” 

“I’ll give you a call when it’s finished,” said Dennis. 

Months passed and I had completely forgotten about the cabinet until the phone rang one day. It was my brother inviting me over to see the finished product. Robbie Lee and I drove over later and when I walked into the garage I could not believe my eyes. The once damaged and ugly cabinet had been restored to a beautiful china cabinet with new glass, new shelves and its original wood stain. 

“Oh my,” I said, walking around the cabinet, “this must have taken a lot of work and a lot of hours.” 

“Yeah, but it was well worth it, don’t you think?” asked Dennis. 

“Didn’t it turn out great?” his wife asked. “He did a wonderful job on it didn’t he?” 

“Yes, it’s absolutely gorgeous,” I said. 

“It’s yours,” said Dennis, looking at me.

“What?” I asked. “You’re giving this gorgeous cabinet to me? Why?” 

“Yeah, why?” asked his wife. 

“Because you saw the beauty in it when it was just a broken down piece of trash,” Dennis answered. “You saw its potential. I want you to have it. We don’t really have a place for such a big piece in our house.” 

“I don’t know what to say,” I said. “I will definitely find a place for it in my home if you really want me to have it. I mean, I would really love to have it if you don’t want it.” I glanced over at Dennis’s wife to make sure she was okay with all of this. 

“He’s right,” she admitted with a smile. “We don’t have room for it and you did admire it the day he brought it home. It just looked like a piece of trash to me.” 

Dennis loaded up the cabinet in his truck and I followed him to my house. We carefully placed the newly restored china cabinet in my dining room and then we all stood back to admire it. It looked perfect in my home. 

Dennis gave me a hug and a kiss. “Enjoy it,” he said. 

“Don’t worry,” I said through tears. “I will always cherish this gift.” 

Many years have passed since Dennis gave me the beautifully restored cabinet and it stills sits in my dining room. We lost Dennis to cancer in July of 1999, but I remember him each time I pass the beautifully restored china cabinet in my dining room. 

We sometimes see ourselves like the broken-down and damaged china cabinet. We feel like our lives are on the trash heap. We don’t see ourselves as having any value or any signifi cance in life. We are often damaged from our past and our hearts have been badly broken. However, God sees us through different eyes. He sees in us the beauty that can be restored and He redeems us through His Son Jesus. He thought we were worth saving. So much so that He sent His only Son to die on a cross for us. 

Others may look at us and say, “That one doesn’t have any value.” But God sees value in each of us. We need to learn to see ourselves as God sees us. He is not looking at us with condemning eyes, but with arms wide open and filled with love. He wants to rescue us and restore us to the persons He intended for us to be. 

You have heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder?” God sees the beauty that has been covered over by years of mistakes, 

bad decisions, disappointments, hurt, broken relationships and sin. If we allow Him, He will strip away those layers, sand out the rough spots and seal us with His Holy Spirit, preserving us as His own. 

Romans 3:24 says, “God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” (The Message) 

God sees us as very valuable; so valuable, in fact, that He has made a deposit in us with the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing our inheritance. He has made us heirs with His Son Jesus. We are kings and priests. We have not been discarded or left out on the street like worthless trash. He wants to rescue us and restore us, and all this so we can have a close and intimate relationship with Him. 

We must learn to look past the outer layers of a damaged life and see what God sees, a person worth rescuing, a life worth changing and a life worth restoring to beauty and value through Christ. 

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So What's On Your Plate?" Copyright © 2009 by Polly D. Boyette "All Rights Reserved"

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