When I was in high school, we had service days- no surprise. Ask any Christian school kid and they will understand. Usually you go to a different place every year, but by happenstance I ended up at the same place twice: the Habitat for Humanity Restore. It’s basically a place that you can take unused house items, and they either sell them or give them away to those in need. It’s a great idea, but our job was to scrub all that stuff down… which wasn’t the greatest.
That place has always stuck with me, though. You walk in and see isles of items that once had life. You could tell that the crystal lamp was once looked upon in awe. You can tell that the engraved mantle once hung over a fireplace that warmed a family’s house. But now it was sitting there thrown to the side, collecting dust, completely worn.
Have you ever felt that way? I can almost assume that every brother and sister reading this has at one point felt the same way as those once lively pieces of furniture. I’m not personifying the furniture, however from all my Toy Story years I can’t help but feel bad. I know what it’s like to look back in our dusty state and yearn for more- for what we once had.
Chris and I recently had to have a get-away weekend. We’d been sitting in that dust for a few weeks, and it truly does choke the life out of you. It’s not even so much that we’d lost something we once had, but more simply we were lost. We were lost in how we desired to have a future, not just with each other, but in general. Chris is getting close to graduating, and I’m far from it. Chris is getting a job, and along with all the confusion there, I’m yearning to jump into practice. In the midst of that, the vision of the future God wants for you gets pretty blurry.
In my time of studying for- yet another- big test, a song came on from the Vertical Church Band. The lyrics went as follows:
Restore my soul, revive my heart, renew my life in every part
Reveal to me what sin remains, then lead me to the cross again
At the cross I’ll find a way, to live the life your hand has made
So find me there, Lord, and help me stay in true surrender with You, my Savior
I don’t know where you stand. You may be one of those go-with-the-flow, happy-go-lucky kinda people, and if so, congrats. But right now my “mantle” is pretty scratched up, chipping paint, covered in dust, and hidden behind all the other dusty mantles.
The end of that story goes that our teacher actually bought the mantle, dusted it off, put a new layer of paint over it, and put it over her fireplace along with vases of fresh flowers and candles. The same happens with us when we put our lives in the hands of the Father.
Psalm 71:20, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”
There is no valley too deep, no distance too far, no mantel too dusty for you to be hidden. Our lives can be a hot mess (and most of them are), but we are never too messy for God not to pick up a cloth and reveal the beauty that lies underneath. He doesn’t just set you on your feet again, He gives you a new life. He gives new purpose to the parts that seem too ugly, too broken to restore, and He fills you with a radiance that can only reflect His glory.