This week our Chaplain’s Corner is written by Greg Coplen, our Head Cross Country Coach and Campus Chaplain. Thank you so much for your words this week!
One of my wife’s hobbies is restoring furniture. She loves finding old pieces of furniture that nobody wants any longer and then bringing them home and restoring them to something that she would love or that someone else would love to have in their home.
I’m certainly no expert on what she does, but I’ve watched the process enough to know a bit about what she does. It generally starts with her driving through a neighborhood and seeing a furniture piece that’s been set out on the curb by someone who doesn’t want it any longer. At that point she’ll load it up (or call me to go load it up!) and bring it home to our garage. If it’s a piece that’s been painted in the past she’ll generally strip the paint, sand it down and have it in the basic stages of what she wants to work off of.
After stripping it down to the most basic state she begins to go to work on it. Her favorite style is something called “Shabby Chic.” She paints it to her liking. After she’s painted though she’ll often go back and distress it, which entails some sanding and further stripping of paint she’s already added on. She’ll spend hours perfectly sanding and stripping paint that she’s already added to the piece to her liking. Once she gets the piece to what she believes is the perfect state then she begins adding a wax to it. Very often the wax is meant to take off the extreme “glow” of the paint and turn it into a more subdued piece.
I’m often amazed by the transformation of the pieces. What once was unusable to someone else becomes a beautiful piece that will adorn our own home, very often in the most visible corners. Our home is filled mostly with pieces that were cast aside by someone else that she has gently cared for and restored to a brand new beauty.
Of course you know I’m going somewhere with this, right? Our lives are so much like this! We get beaten down. As we go through life there are certainly times where the majority of us have felt unwanted. We’ve felt like we’ve been left on the curb. We’ve been hurt by others and hurt others in the process. We all carry the scars of the past and sometimes those scars have led to being pushed out of where we once “dwelled.” The homes, the places of residence, the identities; whether in a physical, emotional or spiritual sense are not the places we live any longer. We get pulled away, pulled apart, from what used to work when it doesn’t work any longer.
Our God, however, is the great Artist, the great Sculptor, Creator, Restorer. He sees us in those initial stages. He sees ahead to what we’re going to look like when we’re broken down, when we feel like we’re no longer wanted. He also sees ahead to when we don’t want to be moved, but we need to be moved. He knows what beautiful things look like and He also knows what beautiful things look like when they become infiltrated by dirt, by grime, by time.
Oh man, and He knows when it’s time to start chiseling, to start stripping the old layers away, to start sanding down the rough edges. He knows when it’s time to restore. He knows when to begin the process, He knows when the process will end and He knows when the process will begin again. He’s in a constant state of restoration in our lives. He never stops working.
Even in the midst of that restoration though there is always a state of perfection. What makes the restoration perfect, even during the process, is the gift of Jesus, the gift of his crucifixion and resurrection. “It is for freedom that Christ set us free,” and I love the thought of that when we’re in the midst of being broken down and being built back up. Even in those moments of God chipping away at us we can be confident that He does all of that in the midst of the incredible gift of grace, forgiveness and of course freedom in our lives. Our salvation is secure, our purpose is perfect, our future is one of hope. Always hope.
The product is not always beautiful, the product is not always glamorous, but the product is always perfect, held closely, and dearly loved by the Artist.
Be confident in God’s good and perfect plan for you and also be confident in sharing the perfection of that plan with others. For as we are in the process of being restored, be aware that others are viewing the restoration and craving the same restoration for their own. There are so many more pieces out there that need the gift of a perfect restoration.