On Christmas Eve in 1994, an article along with several photographs appeared in the local newspaper that caught my eye. The title of the article read, “Treasured Chest.” Below the title was written these words, “Keepsake. A father’s gift of time and know-how opens daughter’s eyes to worlds of possibilities.” At this time in my life, I enjoyed visiting yard sales and shopping for antiques. Looking at one of the photographs and seeing the doll in the chest, discolored and worn from years of love and the passing of time, piqued my interest to read further.
A daughter and her father tell the story of how throughout the years of weeding through piles of junk they have discovered many treasures that at the time by all appearances were nothing more than trash. As a child, the daughter remembered how her father brought home things that were broken, dirty and unrecognizable as being anything useful. Then, some days or weeks later, something emerged that was beautiful. Underneath the paint and grime, her father’s patience and hard work would uncover a timeless gem.
After years of watching her father turn trash into treasure, the daughter begged for him to teach her how to find junk and see beyond the dirt and grime for greater possibilities. Before long, she found herself excited about the Saturday morning 6 am yard sale adventures. Just like the art of training her physical eye, she learned that transforming years of neglect could not happen overnight. Like her father, she had to be patient and persistent.
Recalling one project, in particular, the daughter tells of the time she brought home an old trunk and began cutting with razor blades, knives, and paint scrapers and after hours of hard work she still found nothing of value. Her father was always reluctant to encourage the use of chemicals and suggested a more gentle process using steel wool, water and time. She was nearing the end when something in the shed fell on the trunk she was working on and broke the lid. In frustration, she was ready to give up and search for a new project when her father, with some glue and clamps, fixed the break after which it was barely noticeable. Her father’s love, expertise, and tenacity carried her through to the end of the project where she discovered the thrill of seeing her trunk restored to its intended purpose.
When I was almost to the end of the article, a similar story began to move in my heart. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of another Father Whose love and patience persevered on my behalf when by all appearances, I was nothing more than junk. God sees you and me as one of His treasured creations. He never gives up on us! Instead, he gently, yet persistently uses all of His resources to wash away the grime and dirt that spending time in this world has caused. Even before the transformation is evident to anyone else, our heavenly Father sees and believes that something of great beauty is present and worth His time to uncover. In fact, His love is so deep that He came to our world in the form a baby. What could be more pure and precious than a newborn?
As He grew, unlike you and me, Jesus never relented to the elements of time and temptation. Then, on a Roman cross, His blood provided the perfect cleaning solution for restoring humankind to God’s originally intended beauty and purpose. He is patient, tender and gentle, using mercy and grace to fix our brokenness.
Like the daughter in the newspaper article, I ask my Father to teach me how to see the same potential in other people as with His eyes. I want to learn how to be patient in the process as He is patient with me. When the harsh elements of this world have taken their toll, I ask God to show me how to employ His grace toward others and to see the endless possibilities for complete and total restoration. Let me always remember, that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6, NIV.