The “pandemic pounds” were becoming more noticeable, so I decided I needed to change my routine (again).
While I was out in the neighborhood, I stopped at a garage sale. In my social-distanced rummaging I found a medium-sized, old, poorly painted, wooden box that slightly resembled a “hope chest.” I opened the lid and the unmistakable cedar smell confirmed my suspicion. It was a hope chest. It was one that had seen better days but that did not stop me from haggling for it.
Melissa was not nearly as excited about my bargain as I was. Perhaps she remembered past projects that sat in the garage for months. Ok, for years, but this would be different I vowed to myself, not wanting an unwinnable skirmish to dampen my excitement.
“When I get through with this box it is going to be beautiful, you’ll see!” Those were my parting words as I dashed off to get some refinishing supplies.
I wonder if God ever feels that way about the projects that God takes on? “When I get through, they’ll be beautiful, you’ll see!”
Perhaps that is how God felt about a struggling young missionary “wanna be” pastor named John Wesley. Wesley, a bit rough around the edges, and quite a bit in need of personal restoration, yearned for more of Christ. While at a small chapel called Aldersgate, God touched his heart and started the process of transformation that would quickly spill out onto others and usher in a revival that would reshape and invigorate Christianity.
The before and after pictures are amazing! The inner work of the Holy Spirit transformed and changed John Wesley in such a dramatic fashion that his previously unfruitful work, now fueled by the Holy Spirit, was met with amazing success.
My prayer for the people called United Methodist continues to be, “Lord, do it again!” We are in need of a repair, a renovation, a restoration, a refurbishing, a remodeling, a restitution, and a renewal. This much needed transformation will only come as we yield ourselves to the restoring power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit can cleanse us and make us brand new if we are willing to be reclaimed and refashioned. The Holy Spirit, when we yield ourselves, will strip away anything that keeps us from looking like Jesus. The Holy Spirit will smooth away our rough edges and allow the natural beauty that God has given to each of us, to shine with a glowing radiance.
God, I believe, is trying to strip away the painted surfaces that we have allowed to coat our work and our witness. God, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, will not stop until we show forth the glory of the one who has called us from darkness into light.
I’m working on my box and it is starting to look better. The process is slower than I’d like, but I am making progress. Keep me in your prayers as God continues working on me. I can almost hear God saying, “When I get through, he’ll be beautiful, you’ll see!”