LENT DAY 10
The Restorer By Pastor Mike Mannes
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, God gave the prophet Isaiah a glimpse of what Jesus would do for all of us:
Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
Isaiah 53:1-5 (MSG)
A poem Corinne wrote years ago put it this way:
You seek to rebuild me for I am broken
Like a treasured piece of furniture – once standing in its place with dignity, overwhelming in its natural beauty. The years pass and the treasure becomes a once-treasure—the years of neglect stripping it of its purity. Plastic flowers adorn its top—their vase scratching the once flawless surface. A coat of yellow paint meant to beautify now hides the natural perfection of the grain. The raw beauty is forgotten—the original beauty of the wood now hidden from sight and lost to memory.
Painful is the sight of the once-treasure and so it is dragged up the narrow stairs into the attic—its home now an unremarkable corner occupied by worms and dust. As the attic door closes, the moist dust begins its acidy decay and the worms make the wood their home. The once-treasure is forsaken--forgotten to all but You.
The years pass slowly for the once-treasure, alone in the dusty dark of the attic. Sight of it brings painful reminders of the yellow paint of neglect and the gaudy flowers of abuse and the plastic vase of transgression that tainted and scarred and bent—and so the attic door is locked and the once-treasure fades—forgotten to all but You.
Hidden for years, yet finally the day comes when a triangle of dust-flecked light invades the dim corner of the once-treasure’s attic home. Eyes that find the once-treasure should be filled with shame but in these eyes there is recognition—and kindness.
You blow off the thick layer of dust
You run your scarred and calloused carpenter’s hand along the blistered worm damaged surface—
You bend closer – there beneath the gaudy colors you see a minute patch of true brown – the grain strong and sure. You smile.
You have not forgotten.
You straighten up, and as you roll up your sleeves you whisper:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love. Again I will rebuild you and you shall be rebuilt (Jer 31:3-4).”
So You set to work—undaunted by the task before you for this is what You do.
You are the Restorer.
The hours pass and then the days and still You chip and scrape until the yellow paint litters the ground at Your feet. You look at the knife that scrapes and marks and You know that it will leave its scars. Yet You know that without the scraping, the true wood would be buried forever beneath the years of gaudy yellow paint.
Picking up the sand paper you begin to smooth the surface of the once-treasure. Beneath the gentle persistence of Your hand, the worm holes give up their raggedness and the stubborn paint surrenders.
At last, You straighten your bent back and say,
“It is finished.”
You begin the difficult descent of the narrow attic stairs carrying the once-treasure easily on Your back as though familiar with bearing rough burdens. Your eyes find the gaping hole left by the absence of the once-treasure and you carefully replace the treasure-now-restored.
It is true that the original shine is lost and the once flawless surface is pocked with smoothed-out worm holes and scarred with the marks of the scraping knife. Yet this does not bring dismay, for You see that the treasure-now-restored holds a far greater beauty.
For its now-beauty remembers the smell of the yellow paint and the weight of the plastic vase and it will not forget the freedom that came from the touch of the carpenter’s hand.
As the carpenter turns—His work complete—the treasure-now-restored whispers:
“Thank you, for I have been rebuilt.”
Prayer: Thank you God that you are in the business of restoring our broken lives. I recommit my brokenness to you today and trust that you won’t stop until you’ve made me whole.