Read: Romans 5:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17
I love both of the images my mind conjures up when I hear the words waterfall and hope chest. Think of a waterfall. There's beauty and refreshment in even the thought of the cascading water as it tumbles down over rocks or over me. Then there's the hope chest! Even the name of this "treasure box", which is set aside to store precious things, reminds me that it holds items that have been placed there with joyful anticipation. I've read that some fathers decorate their daughters' hope chests beautifully as a reminder of their love for them. Both waterfalls and hope chests make me smile. That's why when I read the title of the article which spoke of a waterfall hope chest, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to read all about it!
The author, Larissa who does restoration at a business called ‘PRODIGAL PIECES’ showed how she found and subsequently restored a waterfall hope chest. She showed the steps and named the products that she used in order to turn the very much beaten-up piece into a lovely treasure that was snapped up before she could even display it on line. It was bought by a mom for her daughter, and Larissa considers it a blessing that she is able to restore and beautify these battered items. I'm thankful that God has gifted people like Larissa. She sees potential beauty and has the ability and desire to bring it out of items that most of us would probably simply discard, and I'm thankful that on a much larger scale, God is at work transforming a much more precious commodity. He is at work in the lives of people whom He is, one by one, making new, 2 Corinthians 5:17.
His process is so very different than Larissa's. She works on what can be seen on each item. She works on the surface and veneer and gently restores and fills in broken places. She beautifully enhances and fixes each place to bring out the beauty that has been scarred and marred so that someone will want to purchase what she has restored.
On the other hand, each one who comes to Jesus must understand that he is not fixable. Instead, he must be reborn, John 3:3. It is on the inside that God does His initial and most precious work. He takes us from death to life, Ephesians 2:1-6. This process is not long and painstaking. No, it occurs when we yield to God, realizing we are without hope and helpless. We cannot restore ourselves because we are alienated from God and are unable to become His friends unless He makes us new, Romans 5:6-11; John 3:3. This most precious work that God does for us is at first, unseen by anyone around us. Most of the time, we don't finish our prayer of repentance and receiving salvation with a glowing halo around us. We might or might not feel differently, but one thing is for certain. We are different, having in an instant become the home of the Holy Spirit Who will from that time on begin to change us in discernible ways, 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 3:18.
This is when the restoration on our outside--the place that people see-begins. This process is not without pain because it is a work that we do hand-and-hand with God. It is a bit by bit yielding of our desires to those of the Holy Spirit. We learn and grow. We allow Him to change us as a part of each day's walk. This is the part that people who know us will see. Sometimes, they won't like the restoration. They have become accustomed to the way we used to live, and many times, our new way of walking and talking doesn't set well with them. That's when we need to remember that our greatest aim is to please God and not other people, Galatians 1:10.
We would think that the more of God's beauty that is seen in our lives, the more people would like what they see; however, this is often not the case. In a world that calls good evil and evil good, Isaiah 5:20, what God says and walking it out is often not lauded.
When people don't understand the changes that they see in us, they often reject us. Jesus understands. He did everything right, never having committed even one transgression while He lived on earth, Hebrews 4:15. Yet He was scorned by most of those He came to save, and He warned us that we would face the same reaction, John 15:18-21; Isaiah 53:3.
Even though we might face these things, we are precious to our Redeemer. He is our Restorer, and we are His loved "prodigal pieces", having been adopted into His forever family, Ephesians 1:5.