I recently refurbished a matching set of three pieces of wooden furniture, a couch, a love seat, and a chair. Originally they were the living room set, complete with cushions, in the home of our daughter and her family. For years now they’ve been relegated to the porch, minus any cushions, as outdoor furniture.
Time and weather had not been kind to the set. The wood was faded and the frames wobbly. At the suggestion of my daughter and my wife (they seem to frequently join forces in determining God’s will for my life) I set about refurbishing them. It was no easy task. Old wood that formed the seats had to be removed and new boards installed, which first had to be cut, sanded and stained. Reinforcing with additional framing underneath was needed to take care of the wobble and to add strength. Each piece of furniture then needed staining and varnishing. It’s not an expert job of refurbishing but more than adequate to give the 15-year-old set another few years of life.
While working with my hands on refurbishing the furniture my mind also worked on something; given some of the mistakes I made with the project I should have assigned a greater part of my thinking to the work at hand! What I was thinking about was how you and I are to be God’s refurbishing projects.
None of us are at all the way God intended for us to be. We’re all worn, battered, and wobbly by the rough times life’s thrown at us and badly broken by the sin within us.
One of the roles God wants to play in our lives is to be our Refurbisher. The Bible’s term for this role is Redeemer, but with my recent experience with the dilapidated furniture I don’t think it does this role of God’s any injustice by also calling Him Refurbisher.
The metaphor of God refurbishing us like I refurbished the furniture does have its limitations. The furniture had no say as to whether I would refurbish it or not. After all, the three pieces of furniture are inanimate objects, and we are not. We have choices we can make.
The metaphor still works if you imagine the piece of furniture needing refurbishing being a character in an animated cartoon. Imagine the refurbisher approaching the dilapidated piece of furniture and saying, “I’d like to refurbish you, make you new again.” In one scenario imagine the piece of furniture running away on its four weathered and worn legs, “No, I’m not going to let you come near me!” It wants to stay the dilapidated way it is. Now imagine the story playing out a different way, the piece of furniture stretching out its wooden arms and saying, “Okay, I’m yours. Do your best with me!”
The refurbished furniture didn’t have a choice in the matter. When it comes to the ultimate Refurbisher, we do. We can decide to let Him get His hands on us so He can do His great work of refurbishing!
“Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.” Psalm 80:19