When my husband and I travel we take mostly back roads, the ones that trail thru small communities and wind lazily around in rural areas. Some might find this boring, but we find it refreshing. We find all kinds of “treasures” on these outings, interesting flea markets, occasional wildlife, and interesting architecture. As we travel along, we play a game we call “fix it up or tear it down”. This is in reference to interesting old homes we find that have lots of character but need lots of work. We decide between us if we would fix them up or tear them down.
On one such trip we were traveling highway 6 in Pennsylvania and went through the town of Coudersport. We happened on to the most wonderful fixer upper we had ever come across. It was a sad old broken down three story with so much character and potential we fell in love with the old beauty. It was obvious that she had been completely neglected for who knows how long, but the possibilities were endless. It was almost as though I could hear her call out, “make me new again”.
Oh, how I wished I could answer that imaginary call. Boy could I day dream about fixing this one up. For the next few years when we would travel to Pennsylvania to check on my husband’s mother, we would also check on this fixer upper, to see if anyone had bought it or changed it, or tore it down. One year we must have gotten on a different street going thru that town, because we couldn’t find it. We looked and looked where we thought it was but could not find it. We surmised that it must have been torn down. It saddened our hearts. The next year we didn’t really look but happened on to it again accidentally and were overjoyed. There she was still standing,
And wonder of wonders someone had started to work on it. Someone out there believed like us that this wonderful old architectural gem was worth restoring.
What a beautiful sight to behold. When we got home that year we contacted the realtor named on the sign in the yard to get the whole story. Someone was indeed going to restore what we learned is called “Old Hickory”. She would become a bed and breakfast. And, we can follow the progress. Old Hickory has her own Facebook page. Each small advancement brings joy and excitement.
I believe there is something in us that longs to see things at their best potential. It is fulfilling to watch something in ruins brought back to what it was designed to be. Whether it be an old mansion or an old car or an old piece of furniture there is a satisfaction in seeing it restored. As you can see from the pictures my husband likes to restore cars.
I think God feels that way about us. And really, don’t we all have an awareness of those areas in us that need repair? Don’t we desperately long for clean slates? Don't we too cry out “make me new again”?
We were designed to be magnificent beautiful loving children of God. He created us for Himself, but the enemy struck quickly and dragged mankind off into his camp. And now, in the enemy’s camp we deteriorate and face many kinds of onslaughts that steal our beauty. Just like Old Hickory, buffeted by time and weather, we are battered by our enemy who works to keep us enslaved in his camp. But………God sees us. He always sees us and He loves us with an amazing love.
The first thing we need in order to be restored is to get out of the enemy’s camp. We, like Old Hickory, need to be purchased and have a new owner who will restore us to our intended beauty. God says, “I will buy you back and I will restore you. The price to buy us was high. It cost God his Son Jesus dying on a cross, shedding His blood (innocent blood) to buy us back. But He did that. Accepting that truth and allowing Christ to be Lord then begins the restoration process.
2 Cor 5:17 says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Cor 4:16 says: Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
Col 3:10 says: and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
Someone on Old Hickory’s Facebook page ask the question “how do you know what colors to use?” The answer was that when they scraped the old layers of paint off and got down to the original they could see bits of the original color. God knows under the layers of sin, hurt, discouragement, failures, and pain there is a person that He created with beauty and uniqueness and purpose. Little bit by little bit He starts removing the old and replacing with new. Just like with the mansion it doesn’t happen all at once. New ownership happens all at once, but restoration is a process.
Sometimes we can be judgmental regarding someone’s progress or our own restoration progress. Instead of rejoicing at every little victory we tend to look at how much is yet to be done.
Let me encourage you to look at yourself and your brothers and sisters as works in progress like that beautiful old mansion with its new owner. As Christians, we are new creations. As we grow in grace and truth His beauty will shine through.