Lessons learnt from restoring a bedside table.
My wife is a very talented lady and this talent extends to making money from taking other people’s unwanted old furniture and giving them a new lease on life. A few years ago, she came home with that cheeky grin that she wears when she has picked up more junk from off the side of the road. I groaned thinking of another item that needed to be stored in our already filled garage. She started the process of restoring the old unwanted bedside table; that had a huge crack down one side and a table top that had split, with its trimming falling off. She always saw potential that I didn’t. I’d prefer to not restore anything and keep a tidy, uncluttered garage. My wife was unable to finish the job because our son was born and now after close to 3 years of having the partly-restored bedside table taking space in my garage, I decided to finish the job. As I worked on this old piece of ugly broken furniture, I was reminded of several truths from God’s point of view.
1. Looking beyond the exterior.
I saw this bedside table as nothing but a heap of junk that was clearly thrown out on the side of the road for a reason. My wife however saw potential, she saw something that she could work with.
God looks deeper than you and I do. God sees us for who we really are; yet doesn’t describe us as junk but as something beautiful, someone He loves so much, someone He is willing to sacrifice for. Just as that well known verse says:
“For God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son.”(John 3:16 NKJV)
God loves you and God sees great potential in all of us to make something beautiful; to give effective, fulfilling lives when we follow Him.
Maybe like me, at times, you judge the book by the cover instead of seeing the potential, like God does. Are you one who judges yourself harshly? Thinking, “God would never want me.” It’s not true, God sees you and He loves you. Trust Him with your life and see what great things He can make out of you.
2. Mistakes = opportunities.
In the restoration process, mistakes were made. My wife tried something that didn’t work. Early on she painted the table top and one side of the cupboard in a dark tinted blue, only to realise it didn’t have the effect that she’d hoped. The colour just didn’t work out the way she thought it would. I came along and sanded all that paint back. What was a mistake became quite a cool little feature. Hints of dark blue were now flicked throughout the woodgrain and it enhanced the final finished look.
God does not tempt man with evil, James 1:13 states. Evil is against God’s nature. We all make mistakes and bad decisions, or other people’s bad choices hurt us. God is not at fault for these, but God can take these mistakes, bad choices, hurts and then turn them into something incredible. Only God can take something bad, something painful, something destructive and in His hands turn it into something that He can use for His glory in your life. He can and will turn those regrets and pains into something that He will use to draw you closer to Him and deepen your faith in Him. He can also draw others to Him through you and your testimony of His goodness in the hard times.
Only God can do this – turn our ugly things, our hurts and regrets into opportunities for Him, opportunities to show His grace to us. Opportunities to show that He can make your life beautiful – no matter what coloured ‘paint’ is currently splattered around.
3. Beauty is in the eye of the Creator.
When I first saw this bedside table, I groaned at my wife. I saw no beauty, but she did. However, after investing time and effort into it, and seeing what it has now become, I think it’s a pretty cool piece of furniture. You may look at the pictures I’ve included in this post and think: “It’s still not that good.” Do you know what? I don’t care. As the one who invested time and effort into its restoration I like it. In fact, it was hard to sell it in the end.
Our Creator looks upon us with love and sees us as beautiful. Others may think you need some more work or that you look a bit tainted, but who cares about their opinion? When the Creator of the universe looks at you He does so with love, He sees you as beautiful, He sees you as one worth dying for, one worth saving, one worth liberating from sin and death.
If you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you are a child of God. Don’t listen to others’ opinion of you. All that matters is: “What’s God’s opinion of me?”
Live for God above everyone else, His is the most important opinion in your life.
Live for the audience of one.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvellous are Your works . . . “(Psalm 139:14 NKJV)
4. There is value.
So, I finished the job. Filled in the cracks, sanded it back and given it a coat of vanish to finish it off. The bedside table that was free, because it was being thrown out, has now been repaired and restored. I placed the item on Facebook marketplace. After 1 hour there was no response. I thought “Oh no, people don’t like it, it’s never going to sell.” One person messaged me after about 3 hours to reserve it for them to come view in a couple of days. I didn’t remove the post because it hadn’t been paid or picked up yet. What followed was incredible. Over 3 days, I had 301 interested parties to buy the bedside table. It turned into a joke as my wife and I counted up all the requests we had received via messenger. This heap of junk that no one wanted was now so popular that everyone was after it. This item that was worthless, and on the side of the road, sold for $80. Due to the high demand, it probably could have gotten a whole lot more.
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”(1 John 4:10 NKJV)
God’s love for us, God’s sacrifice for us shows that He has placed an incredible value upon each one of us. When mankind sinned, God could have started again but He didn’t. He loved us so much, He paid the penalty of our sin for us. God loves and values you. You are so precious to Him. Don’t go trying to find value and importance from friends, from pleasure, from wealth or fame. Find value and importance in the one who truly loves you and values you – God. He is so worthy of your trust, He is so worthy of you following Him, above all else. True value and worth are found only in Him.
I am thankful that my wife picked up this so called ‘worthless’ piece of furniture. It was fun to restore, it helped pay some bills and it has reminded me of some incredible truths about God’s view of us. I am so glad that my attitude of wanting to keep a tidy and organised garage didn’t win out. It makes me wonder how often I have passed up the opportunity to reach out to help another person in need, because I didn’t want to “mess up” the garage of my own life. Helping others see their need for God and the beauty and value they have in Him can sometimes get messy but the reward is so worth it in the end. I hope you personally know the God of restoration.
If you want to know more, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mark Joy