When my parents were newlyweds, money was tight. And as three little ones came along in stair-step fashion, that situation didn’t change for a number of years. But my parents were both very resourceful and talented. Mom loved to find projects at the “junk-tique” stores, as we called them. You’ve probably seen these stores. They are the ones that have old stuff, antiques, but that have lived a hard life pushing them to the edge of “junk.”
But Mom would shop until she found a promising “treasure,” perhaps a dresser that just needed to be tightened up, a table that just need refinishing, or a chair that needed to be recovered. Then the tedious work would begin to restore the promising piece of near-junk to a fine antique. Hours of sanding, stripping, disassembling in order to reach the raw, clean surfaces…all just to begin the process of restoring. However, once stripped bare, the joy of rebuilding could begin as the beauty of the finished project began to emerge. Like new, but even better. The hard knocks had led to a different kind of beauty. Not perfection. Yet a rich loveliness deepened through pain, toil, sweat resulting in a transformation of that which was worthy of being discarded being fully restored.
What a great word.
An opportunity to start again, restored to a former place of importance and significance.
And now the story from this week’s readings. King David, Israel’s second king, was often referred to as a man after God’s own heart. We see him cling to God through good and bad, literally running for his life because of human threats, yet holding unswervingly to God’s mighty hand.
But he fell. And he fell hard!
Lust turned to adultery. Adultery turned to deception. Deception turned to murder.
How awful the details of the story! How hard to read the completely selfish acts that ultimately cost two lives all so David could indulge in physical pleasures with a another man’s wife.
How can he ever hope to recover from so much multi-layered tangled sinfulness? How can God ever look on him with joy and kindness after such a horrible mess?
Junk. Worthy of being discarded.
But God does not leave David there. Through the prophet Nathan, God confronts David.
David’s response: He is broken. He allows the words of rebuke to strip through his layers of sinfulness and selfishness to leave his heart raw, tender, and exposed.
It is from this point, then, that the Master Creator can begin the work of restoring a heart that yields to His shaping hands, surrenders to His will, and allows the painful process of restoring to bring new joy and new thankfulness to the relationship.
Yes, the consequences of sin may leave marks that are still visible in the restoration, but the beauty that comes from a humble, submission, repentant heart will surpass that of the former state.
Consider these words from the tender broken heart of David as he yields to the Master Restorer.
Yes, we have fallen. Yes, we will fall.
Yet like David, God reaches out His hand to us to restore, to heal, to renew.
So, like David, when we respond with “Yes, Lord” we have hope, even in our worst conditions.
Thank you, Lord, for bringing us back to life in You.