I have had the pleasurable experience of reworking an antique rocking chair. A family member gave my wife and I the rocker that belonged to my wife’s grandmother. The chair was in a state of being restored and almost all the original stain had been removed. Evidence of much use was clearly visible on the parts of the rocker. The curved bottom wood pieces have a nearly flat section on them from the countless times they have rubbed on a floor while rocking. A variety of nicks, dings and small gouges were found in the wood parts. It is easy to imagine this was a favored sitting chair for someone.
Various repairs had been made to the chair over a span of several years and most of the connecting parts were loose when I acquired it. Most of the old repairs were ineffective as a long-term fix. Time had taken its toll and the wood was very dry. After being in my possession for several months I continued the restoration process.
It was necessary to disassemble the chair in order to properly repair it. Each part was carefully sanded and then given a bath of mineral spirits to bring moisture back into the wood.
After that a coat of stain was applied to bring out the beauty of the wood grain and accentuate the characteristics of the material. When the appropriate amount of time had passed all the parts were reassembled. Each part was properly fitted and glued back into place. Even the hardware was cleaned, painted, and reused. To remove all the signs of damage from the chair would have required making new parts, instead the scars add character.
When the glue had fully cured a couple of coats of clear sealant was applied to protect the wood and preserve the new stain. The process of restoring this rocking chair began many months and possibly a few years before it came to my house. The finished product is a true thing of beauty.
This chair now sits in our family room as an honorable part of the decoration. It is easy for me to imagine a time when I can rock a grandchild to sleep. I can envision children sitting on a lap being read to in this remade chair. After all it would be a shame to allow such a unique and beautiful piece of furniture to only be a showpiece.
While working on this project I thought of people in the process of spiritual restoration. Life has a way of taking a toll on a person. Even living a life of intended purpose can leave nicks, dings, and gouges. Some have experienced a life that after many “repairs” it seemed unlikely that any usefulness remained. Some have been entrapped by vices and addictions that were intended to repair a weak area of their life and instead caused more destruction. Others have turned to self-improvement programs and even religious activities to find stability only to find it was ineffective for a long-term repair.
I would like to say that becoming a Christian will immediately remove all life’s problems, but that would not be truth. It is truth that repenting of sin and asking Jesus in your life removes all the old stain of sin. Also, like putting moisture back into wood, being filled with the Holy Spirit is rejuvenating to a dry soul. Sometimes in the restoration process a person can feel like their life is being disassembled. All around may appear to be a mess. A person can feel unusable during this time. Just maybe something is happening. Maybe one area of life is being worked on just as a craftsman may restore a chair one part at a time. God does not discard anyone who seeks after Him to be restored. Some of us require a little more time and a few more repairs than others.
If you have surrendered your life to Christ than He will make the needed changes in your life to use you for a greater purpose. A well-known verse is Jeremiah 29:11; For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Many can testify how God has brought restoration to their lives for His glory.
We will never achieve perfection in this world, but a persons own scars from life add to their character and story. If you find yourself in a place of being repaired and restored in later years of life you are in good company. Know that your story can be a legacy for future generations. In other words, your history can impact other people’s future with His story. Be encouraged by Philippians 1:6; being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Rev. Burt Schwab