Renovation. To those who enjoy HGTV and Better Homes & Gardens, this word brings to mind before-and-after photos, drastic changes in color, furniture, decor, etc. For DIY homeowners, it brings the hope of change as well as the realization of the work it will take to bring their dream to life.
During the years I’ve assisted in numerous renovations: at home, friend’s and family’s homes, my church, even workplaces. Growing up as the daughter of an electrician/small church pastor who had no sons, I gained a lot of hands-on experience! I learned that change required effort, but that it was worth it. No matter what you face, you do what needs to be done.
Recently, my husband and I began to tackle wallpaper removal in our kitchen. After great success removing the wallpaper border with ease, removing the paper underneath and uncovering all the rest of the walls proved to be much more challenging. There were times both of us wanted to quit, but we were in too deep to go back. As we removed the paper, we came across green paint. Then yellow paint. Finally pink paint!
As we persevered and revealed a surface that was pretty beat up, I thought of how our hearts can be a little like those walls. The Lord whispers to us the wonderful vision He has for us, but asks if we will allow Him to change a few things to make it happen.
As he begins to strip off the dirty layers of our lives, we find more mess hidden underneath. It seems as if the layers only continue to appear! Finally, he gets down to the pink layer: our surrendered heart. He then begins to fill the holes, patch the cracks, sand the rough edges, until he has a smooth canvas on which to paint. And paint He will. A beautiful masterpiece!
The process to get to that point, though — it’s messy, it’s painful, it’s frustrating! Yet, the end result is so worth it. While it is easy for us to be afraid of what lies beneath, feel the shame of our mistakes, or lose hope in the process, God delights when we allow His work in our lives. He smiles as He mends our brokenness. He laughs as he restores what the enemy stole. He stands back and admires His unique creation.
Why would the God who created the universe and everything in it take such an interest in the details of our seemingly insignificant lives? Love.
There is a song on the radio that states, “…When you feel like giving up, When you feel like giving in, His love is the reason, To keep on believing…” We may not understand the process the Lord has us in, but Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
We can have confidence that He is not going to leave us in the middle of a mess. He will finish it! There is labor involved. We must surrender our hearts and lives to Him.
He in turn heals, mends and restores that which was in disrepair. Then He calls us to go and share the good news of His work, to minster the same healing renovation to the hearts of others who desperately need it. Most importantly, remember the aim of all things: love. “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep His love is.” Ephesians 3:18.
The Rev. Deborah Schrader is pastor at The Lighthouse Church in Kearney.