SCRIPTURE: Psalm 80:3 (CEB)
Restore us, God! Make your face shine so that we can be saved!
Chuck Swindoll includes the following in one of his books: A few years ago, an angry man rushed through the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam until he reached Rembrandt's famous painting "Nightwatch." Then he took out a knife and slashed it repeatedly before he could be stopped. A short time later, a distraught, hostile man slipped into St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome with a hammer and began to smash Michelangelo's beautiful sculpture The Pieta. Two cherished works of art were severely damaged. But what did officials do? Throw them out and forget about them? Absolutely not! Using the best experts, who worked with the utmost care and precision, they made every effort to restore the treasures.
By His sovereign grace, God can bring good out of our failures, and even out of our sins. J. Stuart Holden tells of an old Scottish mansion close to where he had his little summer home. The walls of one room were filled with sketches made by distinguished artists. The practice began after a pitcher of soda water was accidentally spilled on a freshly decorated wall and left an unsightly stain. At the time, a noted artist, Lord Landseer, was a guest in the house. One day when the family went out to the moors, he stayed behind. With a few masterful strokes of a piece of charcoal, that ugly spot became the outline of a beautiful waterfall, bordered by trees and wildlife. He turned that disfigured wall into one of his most successful depictions of Highland life.
I greatly admire those men and women who can take a mere shell of an old car, nothing more than a rusty remains of a vehicle that ran on four tires and graced the streets of our towns … and return it to its grandeur. Or, the guys on “American Pickers” who unearth treasurers that normal people would consider junk and they sell them for a large profit.
Restoration takes time and the hands of someone who knows what they are doing. Finding treasurers in the middle of a heap of dusty, decaying junk takes more patience than the average person has. And so it is with us and our lives.
God sees us not for what we are nor what we have done, but what he can do with us if we but give him a chance. It does mean we have to surrender to his Spirit. It does mean we have to be willing to undergo the transformational process – removing more than just a layer of dust and dirt. But what we can be has yet to be revealed until the restoration takes place. This is just some of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Begin a work in us that will result in what you see in us O God.