Restoration Projects

When it comes to creativity, I consider myself mediocre at best. My greatest fault is impatience. I will carry a project to the point of satisfactory completion for me instead of pushing on to the best-I-can-do completion. Some might defend me by saying all perfectionists say that, but I’ve cut too many projects short just to be done with them.

For example, I have three antique restoration projects sitting in pieces because I know for sure I’ll not be able to make them into what I envision. Those who can take discarded junk items and restore them to their former beauty or usefulness deserve every accolade tossed them. My cousin is one of those. She used her art painting skills to reclaim old tables.

I sat mesmerized by the video of a man who took a beat-up, rusty toy train from the 1920s and after reducing it to each individual piece, restored the train to mint condition—maybe even better than when it was new.

In a way, these creatives are like God who takes mess-ups and the messed-ups of this world and transforms them into His trophy pieces. I know this because I am one of them and am still in the process. As a young adult, I had turned my back on the God I met as a child. On a constant search for the God who could roll back the Red Sea, I drifted into the occult. At that time in my life, I saw no power being manifested anywhere else. Experiences had me convinced I was arriving at my destination, that is until Jesus intervened.

After weeks of reminding me of long-ago memorized verses of Scripture, Jesus confronted me in a way that left me feeling like a puddle of goo. I was blubbering, snotty, just outright nasty when I told Jesus I couldn’t imagine even a morsel left in me that could be of value—of any use to him, but he was welcome to it. All that mattered to me was that he would accept my love and love me.

I’ve known those along the way who have stepped out of that same type of encounter, transformed in an instant into a powerful testimony and witness. They could be the pin-up for Paul’s exhortation in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV).

My experience was more like the old furniture or the old bent, rusty toy. I had a lot of crud that needed to be stripped away. Rough places needed to be sanded smooth. Corrosion so bad in some areas that spiritual surgery was needed to replaced it with something new, as in a heart of stone replaced with one of flesh. It’s been a long journey, one that I almost gave up on once. But Jesus, who is both the author and the finisher of my faith, drew me closer and remained ever faithful to me.

I’m reminded of a chorus we sang years ago taken from 2 Corinthians 3:18 which talks about our being changed from glory to glory into the image of Jesus.

From glory to glory He’s changing me, changing me
His likeness and image to perfect in me
The love of God shown to the world.
For He’s changing me, changing me
From earthly things to the heavenly
His likeness and image to perfect in me
The love of God shown to the world.

I read Paul’s exhortation to the church in Thessalonica to not grow weary in doing good. I think he would be okay with me extending that to mean never tire of the good that God is doing in me and in you. God is detail-oriented and persistent in transforming lives. When Paul said all things become new, well, all means all. God is making us His trophies for the world to see, joint-heirs with Jesus.

Charles Huff

Charles Huff is a Bible teacher, minister, speaker, husband, father and grandfather. He and his wife have held pastors seminars and taught in various churches, including remote mountain churches in the Philippines. His writing has appeared in, The Upper Room; articles in three anthologies: Gifts from Heaven: True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer compiled by James Stuart Bell; Short and Sweet Too and Short and Sweet Takes a Fifth, both compiled by Susan Cheeves King.

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