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Sierra Pines Church

12 Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise

Sapphires from Psalms

Better Than Jewels

Jesus came to redeem us. The baby born in a manger that first Christmas came to redeem you and me. In Job 19:25-27 we read, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes.”

The definition for redeem is to make something acceptable or pleasant in spite of its negative qualities; to restore to favor or somebody’s good opinion. The baby we celebrate this season grew into a man and died on the cross for you and me. He traded our filthy rags for his righteous robes. He redeems us and restores relationship between us and a Holy God.

In Joel 2:25, the scripture reads, “The Lord will restore the years the locust hath eaten” KJV.  Often after I learned this verse I would quote it to myself as, “The Lord will replace the years the locusts have eaten.” Then one summer I tackled restoring an antique oak library table that had been in my mother-in-law’s possession since the 1850s. My husband wanted to use it as a desk in his office, so the project had special meaning.  His mom had redecorated a dozen times, and now the once beautiful tiger-oak table was covered in several coats of garish paint left over from the psychedelic sixties. 

In order to get to the real wood underneath, I had to slather on a caustic paint stripper that was so corrosive it would eat my hide if it touched my skin.  I’d let it set a few minutes so the chemical could erode the paint and then the hard work began, scraping layer after layer of scummy sludge off the desk. The old paint was stubborn and I had to apply countless coats of the corrosive chemical to the top of the desk, and employ endless hours elbow grease to restore the wood.   

Before I even started on the ornate legs, I remembered a gorgeous roll-top desk I had seen at Costco just a few weeks prior.  More than once, in the middle of that challenging task, I thought of backing the truck up to the loading dock at the store and hauling home a brand new desk for my husband to use.  But I couldn’t because the table had sentimental value.  The project meant too much for me to quit.   

Then one afternoon as worked diligently on this project, scraping and sanding for hours, I remembered the verse from Joel.  As I recited it to myself using the word replace instead of restore, it hit me. Replacing it would be a picnic, but restoring the desk required messy, arduous, and tenacious labor.

The Lord doesn’t promise to replace our years; He promises to restore those years and that may require some laborious effort scraping the scum of sin—pain and poor decisions from our souls, to scour off the sludge of bitterness and resentment, and scrape off the layers of fear and doubt so that God can restore the beauty He intends for each of His children.

This process of restoration requires considerable emotional elbow grease. But we can’t give up because that transformation process means too much to us in terms of future peace and fulfillment.  The Lord will be there every step of the way encouraging and empowering us to continue, but we will have to do the painful part of peeling off the layers of spiritual sludge and surrendering them to God.

I finished restoring the library table and it is a sight to behold! The rich buttery brown of the bare wood showed off the detailed grain of the tiger-oak. And I am grateful that God is not finished restoring and redeeming me.

As we celebrate Christmas, and move into a New Year, may we reflect on the redemption and restoration He came to bring all of us, and may we willingly work to do our part in the process.

Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Comments

December 27, 2018 @01:05 pm

Oh thank you Linda...well said

Renee
December 27, 2018 @01:01 pm

Very well said Lady !!

Carolyn
December 27, 2018 @01:00 pm

What careful patience our Savior takes in our lives to “restore “ us. We must have intrinsic value, or the hard work would not be worth His time. He knows the beauty under the sludge life coats us with. Thank you Linda for this reminder.

Christina
 

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