Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stripping is painful. It requires a caustic liquid, intense scraping and scrubbing and thorough washing. My back and wrists ache. My eyes burn. My stomach feels queasy from the foreign smells. And always I have to be careful not to harm the wood. But the finished project is worth the effort. When I step back and see the wood, free from the tack stains of the past, and the grime of living who-knows-where and the peeling varnish that can’t cover the rough edges, I know I have reached a point of success. The wood is clean, pure, refreshed—and ready to be remade into something beautiful.

Need I even spell out the spiritual parallels?

Today as I labored on my bed, stripping away the old self and restaining and preparing it for a beautiful new finish, the Lord stripped away many old, ugly things I was clinging to. I heard Him say, “The pain is only for a moment, and it comes from my loving hand. Nothing in this unpleasantness will harm you. It will only purify, strengthen and prepare you for the service I have planned for you. Lie quiet under My hand.”

Sunlight filtered through the leaves in the trees bringing warmth to my chilled soul. My Prince of Peace met me there on the concrete pad of a brick garage, amid the odors of stain and varnish and stripper to fill up the empty corner of my heart that I had been holding for something else. And in the presence of God, I knew fullness of joy.

I waded through our newly organized bookshelves tonight, trying to decide what books were drawing my eye and interest and what books would build me up where I am right now. I finally settled on “The Pursuit of God” for starters. It seemed small and I thought perhaps I could rush through it this evening. Sometimes size is deceiving. I’ve found it, so far, to be weighty and worth paying special heed to.

Perhaps, by God’s grace, I may someday be the same.

Lord, I seek to seek Thee fully

Open up the holy of holies

So that I may offer daily

Prayer and praise—my life—before Thee.

I cast myself upon the floor

And plead to know Thee evermore

And if Thou, God, hast found me worthy,

Father, show me all Thy glory.

No comments: