Before and After

by Anita Mondragon

We just finished re-storing an old antique table that our kids gave us.  They know my love for re-storing old things, so instead of throwing it out, they asked if I wanted it.  I jumped at the chance, seeing the beauty and craftsmanship in the tired, weathered piece.  It was a mess when we got it!  Dust, cobwebs, spiders, veneer peeling off in spots; dry, colorless…downright ugly and ready for the trash…in most eyes,  that is.  But I saw what it once was, and what it could be again with a little TLC.

Mike and I went to work on it.  We first cleaned it all up with mild soap and water…then, we began to sand it.  The old varnish that was left had to come off.  At first, we had to use very gritty sandpaper, but as we neared the end of this process, the sandpaper we used was of the finest grit.  It gave a soft luster to the beautiful wood beneath.  We again cleaned off the dust.  Next, we brushed on a fresh coat of varnish.  What a difference!  The old worn out piece was coming to life!

Since the wood was so dry from neglect, it soaked up the varnish.  It was finally finished…we were done!  Or so we thought.  The legs on the table looked great, but the top was another story. 

The top of the table was the heart of the piece…the place where everything had happened.  It had taken years of abuse; dishes, being slid across it, hot cups of coffee leaving rings and spills; homework, leaving its imprint of words and math problems, etc.  The top showed the most wear…it still needed something more.

I decided to put Polyurethane on it to see if that would solve the problem, and it needed to be sealed, so I went to work.  Guess what?  The top now has the same rich color and luster as do the legs!  It is beautiful…and it is sealed!

I got to pondering “why” this product had made such a difference, so I read the contents and looked up a couple of words.  The first word I saw, was that the product contained solvents.  Now…I never took chemistry in High School, but I knew chemicals were involved.  Turns out, the word, Solvent, means: able or sufficient to pay all legal debts; dissolves, or can dissolve; something which solves; a solution.  WOW!  Who knew it meant all that?  I sure didn’t!  The next word I looked up was Combustible.  It means: capable of burning; flammable; easily excited.

Finding the many facets of meaning to those two words has opened up my eyes to the verse, (and I paraphrase…) “anyone who is in Christ, becomes a new creature, (creation).  Old things are passed away…behold! (look), all things have become new!”

When Jesus found me, I was tired, weathered, and worn.  I was a mess!  The dirt of sin was all over me.  I was dry, lifeless, ugly…ready for the trash.  But, He knew what He had created me to be; He saw what I could be again… with His love poured down on me!  He re-stored me…saved my soul, washing me with the water of the Word.  He began stripping away all the old habits that clung to my heart like barnacles on a ship.  Then He put a fresh coat on me…a robe of righteousness.  I was coming to life!  But I had been so wounded; gouged and scarred by careless, demeaning words, forever written upon my heart; rings of sin…spills of bitterness.  It would take more to fix all of that!

He reminded me of the precious Blood He spilt on the cross…The Blood that is able and sufficient to pay all my debts, The Blood that dissolves, or can dissolve all my imperfections.  He solved my situation…gave me a solution; made me His child and now, Heaven is my destination…I am sealed!

But, that’s not all!  He put the combustible power of the Holy Spirit in me!  I’m capable of burning bright for Him…I can catch the world on fire and spread the story of salvation!  I’m now easily excited about the Gospel, and its re-storing power!

If you haven’t yet be re-stored…if you’re tired and weary, wounded and scarred from sin…come to Jesus!  He’s waiting to make you brand new!  He’s in the Restoration business.  If anyone can fix you…HE CAN, and WILL!

If you’ve been re-stored…it’s time to remember that your REAL problems have already been solved by the Blood of the Lamb!  It’s time to spread the Gospel…time to catch the world on fire in Jesus’ name!

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