When I was 15, our family moved to an old colonial style home on the outskirts of San Juan, Puerto Rico. My father immediately assessed the property and saw its potential. He decided that with a little paint and TLC, we could make this 5 bedroom house into a home for our family of 9. The painting was going to be easy, but have you ever restored hardwood floors the old fashioned way?
First, we emptied the room and removed the vinyl carpet. Next, we got rid of protruding nails. After all the nails were gone and some of the floor boards replaced, we scrubbed the dirtiest areas with a brush, we swept and we mopped.
Once dry, the floor was ready to be sanded. Each of us was handed a piece of sandpaper which we used to smooth down our designated area of the floor. While we worked, my father moved from one spot to another encouraging and advising us on how much pressure to apply and how to move the sandpaper in a circular fashion. Every night we had to sweep the dust away, since we did not own a vacuum cleaner.
By the third day, some of us got grumpy thinking we would never see an end to this project. Then, finally, one day, the floor was ready for my father to stain and varnish. When he finished, the floor looked beautiful, shiny and new.
My father had restored wood floors before, so he knew how it would look when we were through doing all the hard work. He had a plan. He was sure we could do the work. He also knew we would do the work because we trusted that he knew what he was doing. He probably didn’t tell us how long it would take because knowing that would have been overwhelming.
God is in the business of restoring people. He has a plan. He created us and is aware of our strengths and weaknesses. He knows the true measure of our faith and trust. And ultimately, He is the only one who knows the duration and the outcome of his plan for us and future generations. Sometimes He will even use us to smooth the way for others to come to Him. Because He has been faithful to keep his promises in the past, we have the assurance that His plans are “to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) in this life and the next.
Dearest Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your faithfulness, your loving-kindness and your discipline. Thank you for taking the time to wash away our sins. Thank you for smoothing out the rough places in our lives and for using us in preparing the way for others to come to you. Forgive us when we lose heart, and encourage us when we hesitate to come along beside you. Knowing your timing is perfect, we give you our hands, our hearts and our will. May they be used for your glory!
In the name of the one who makes us a new creation,