Our porch has been in need of restoration for several years. My wife and I have often talked about needing to re-stain and seal the wood on and off for a number of years. Each year we look at the porch and see new cracks in the wood from the wood drying out and being weathered. Living in Texas is harsh on the wood, with the extreme heat in the summer.
Yet as we much as we talked about refinishing and restoring the porch, it kept getting put off. The reasons were different each time, but usually centered around two main things. One is having the finances to pay for the materials to restore it. The other is having the time to do the required work. I’m not sure which one was more common than the other, it definitely went back and forth on it.
After some planning, we were finally able to start the work on the porch. As I started, part of me was wondering if it would be worth the effort. The deck of the porch was so worn out and cracked, that it looked like it needed to be sent to the graveyard. There did not seem to be any real hope of being able to restore it without completely replacing it.
Yesterday, two of my boys and I started working on putting on the stain and sealant. We chose to start on the railings first. As we started, we quickly realized that doing the railings were going to be very slow and tedious. They were rounded, with a design of several curves in it. After a couple of hours, only one small section of the railings were done. It was very discouraging. I only have a couple of days to work on this, and wanted to get it finished, in the midst of many other things that we are doing or have to do with Thanksgiving break.
In the late afternoon, I decided that instead of finishing the railings, I would focus on getting the deck finished. This was to get it sealed prior to night when it would get dirty again. I did not want to have to wash it again, in order to finish the deck.
Doing the deck only took about two hours of work. And it made the porch look great and gave me hope that it would get completed.
As I was putting on the stain and the sealant on the deck, I noticed the difference it was making. Looking at the railings, it looked nice, but I could not see how much of a difference it was really making. The deck was much different.
God opened my eyes to see something in that old porch. As a human being I go through a lot of things. Often I make choices that are bad and cause damage in my life. Other things happen that are outside my control and create scars in my life. Left alone, those damages and scars only get worse. They look terrible and my life will continue to fall apart.
Left on its own, the porch was going through the damage of the sun and wind over the years. It was cracking and sagging under the weight of time and weather. The porch does not have the ability to repair itself or maintain itself correctly, it needs outside help.
If I am left on my own, I will also sag and crack under the weight of sin in this world, both personal and the sins of others. Just as the porch needed help from someone, so also I am need of help from someone. The help that the porch can get, can be from myself or someone else. However, the help that I need to restore me can only come from God.
Jesus shed His blood on the cross to be able to remove the sin from my life. Although He has removed the sin, the scars and damage are often still seen. However, as I allow His Spirit to live in me, it creates a new heart and life in me. I am no longer black with sin, but white with the righteousness of Jesus. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. I have new life in me.
As this porch is being finished, I am seeing new life in it. It is being restored. If you look at it closely, you can still see the damage from years of neglect, but standing back from it, the porch looks almost new. It is a new creation.
Those cracks and scars are a reminder of what had occurred and the work that is required to keep it from happening any more.
In my life, there are cracks and scars from years of spiritual neglect, yet, they show me what God can still do in me. God can still use me, despite the cracks and scars.
In your life, it can be the same way. Allow God to restore you to what you are meant to be. Allow Him to work in your life to restore you and give you a heart of flesh. Allow Him to use those cracks to reach others and be real to them about past shortcomings. God can and will use you, if you allow Him to work in you to restore you, cracks and scars.