On those weeks when I just can’t handle one more meeting or one more conversation about work, I turn to projects. Big projects. Power tool projects. The kind that allow my hands to get a little dirty. My husband knows I find it to be crazy therapeutic so he goes along with them no matter the workload.
A few weekends ago, after what had been an above average stressful week, it was a Friday night and I had the gusto to refinish our dining room table. We bought the table while we were engaged for a crazy bargain price of $100.00 for the table and all four chairs. I’m quite certain small children had previously stabbed every fork they ever held into that table. But it’s bones were good. Too good to just scrap and search for another table. So for the past almost three years we’ve held onto it. We’ve dropped super glue on it, added our own scratches to the already abundant scuffs, and knew that one day, we would sand it all away and start anew.
On that Friday night I decided we would finally tackle the table. I rose early Saturday morning for a quick trip to the Home Depot and with a few buckets of conditioner, stain, and sealant I was in business to begin the process of refinishing and sanding away the years of wear.
The process began with the sanding. A few years ago for my birthday, my parents, per my request, bought me an orbital sander and I’ve been dying to take it for a spin. If ever you need to relieve a little stress, may I suggest an orbital sander? For the better half of the afternoon I sat outside and held tight as the sander guided my hands and took away years of love, craft projects, leftover food residues, and the occasional (of very frequent) fork stabbing. Underneath it all was a remarkably beautiful walnut wood with a birch accent strip.
I almost couldn’t believe the wood that resided under the years of chipped and beat up stain. As I laid on the conditioner and prepared it for its new stain I couldn’t help but think this process looked so much like you and I.
We each carry the residues of our pasts. Some are like scratches and scuff marks that we’d just as soon as forget than relive that season in our life. Others are those pesky super glue marks that we just can’t seem to shake.
We don’t have to look hard to see and feel the past and present scratches in our lives. There are the surface scratches that we add to daily and there are the deep scratches that color our pasts and bleed into our present days.
God knows that we have many scratches in our lives. He knows that we will have more scratches in our lives. But Jesus did not have any of these scratches; if His life were a table, it would be spotless, without blemish. Think about the grandest, most beautiful new table you’ve ever seen. The God who sent Jesus to pay the price for your scratches sees this grand table (Jesus) as He looks at you…not because of your attempts to sand off scratches or because you deserve it (I certainly do not), but because God promises that His children have Christ’s righteousness…his perfect body of work…his sinless life…his grand, beautiful, scratch-less table.
The truth is, I am a sinful person, but I am no longer defined by my sin.
When Christ died and was raised from the dead, He not only paid for my sin, but gave me His righteousness.
This means when God looks at me He simultaneously wants me to become more like Jesus and counts me as righteous already.
As I move into my week, I'm reminded that these truths are not just true for me on Easter Sunday. Even as I write this, on a dreary Monday afternoon, I wade in the realization of a day full of my own scuffs and scratches. . .so thankful that God sees Christ's righteousness when He looks at me.