Remodeling has been on my mind recently. You might think this is because my husband is a carpenter, but in fact I am thinking of the kind of remodeling that God does. I stumbled across this illustration in a book by Gary Thomas called Sacred Influence. He says, "..change the equation of your marriage by remodeling yourself." This quote got me to thinking about the kind of remodeling that can take place on the inside, and the kind of remodeling that God does not just in our marriages, but in our lives as well.
It's an analogy that appeals to me, and that's easy for me to relate to. For one thing it's my husband's job and I have seen ugly rooms become beautiful ones and unfinished basements become living spaces. We've also remodeled several houses that we've lived in so I also thought about the length of time that the process can take, how frustrating it can be, but what a gift it can be when it's finished.
The last 5 months have been a time of remodeling in my life. The demolition at the beginning was incredibly painful and hurtful, but that has mostly subsided. Even though the initial destruction is over, the rebuilding process seems to be taking a long time over here and some days (or weeks) it's frustrating to me to still be in "remodel" mode. I keep wondering what God is up to, and why after all these months I still can't see it. It's like hiring a contractor to re-do your bathroom, but you don't get any input. You just tell him to make it better than when you started. Then you spend the whole project checking in every day and trying to visualize what He's doing. Some days (like when he puts the tile down) you think, "Wow that's better than I would have chosen." But other days you stand in there and think, "I like the tile, but this bathroom is so ugly, I liked it better before," even though the project isn't finished.
In contrast redecorating is what Christians do in our own life. Similar to adding a new piece of furniture or paint color sometimes we change something that makes our life run easier or makes our family look (and sometimes function better). These are some of the "a-ha" moments that we have in church, things like "Oh I never realized that when I do that my spouse feels dishonored, so I'm going to stop doing that." Now I believe that those things are convictions from the Holy Spirit, but we feel the conviction and then we choose to redecorate or not.
Remodeling isn't like that at all. Remodeling is when God makes big changes in our life, and those things either strengthen our character and turn our lives into something more beautiful or we choose to close the door to that room that has been demolished and not let the contractor finish his work. Sometimes we move out of the house all together. But the one I am most guilty of is stalling the contractor's work. I let Him come in and do His job, but some days I don't like what He's doing so I fire Him. I tell Him I can finish the job myself, or He can come back when He lets me keep the leaky faucet because I like that better than the new one that will actually works better. Then a couple days later I call Him up and tell Him I was wrong and He can come and replace the faucet after all. It sure slows the project down and I wish that I could just let Him do His work undisturbed, or better yet that I could be more helpful during the process. But some days I just get sick of the remodeling and I don't care if the room is beautiful when He's done, I just want Him to hurry up and finish.
In my husband's line of work quality takes time. A good contractor doesn't dawdle, but He does the job as quickly as possible without compromising the quality of the work. A good contractor also doesn't gloss over something that needs to be fixed. Sure you can replace molded drywall, but if you don't figure out what is causing the mold then in a few years you'll have to replace it again.
Our heavenly Father is like that as well. He has a vision of something wonderful that He can build into our lives. Sometimes we don't need the whole bathroom redone, just some new tile or a new drain. He comes in, makes the change and it cause us a little inconvenience, maybe even some slight pain and then He's done. But there are times when He comes in, tears the whole room out and fixes it piece by piece. He takes the tub out and there's a leak, so He has to fix that. He gets to the lighting and some new wiring needs to be done. Like a quality contractor He can't leave the problem unresolved or it will just come back. Sometimes though we ask Him to leave and we either try to finish what He started or we leave the room in shambles and pretend everything is okay. Then a couple months (or years) later the problem is back and when we let him come back in it's harder to fix.
Where can we find hope when one of our internal rooms is all torn apart? If we have been remodeled before we have the reminder of what a beautiful thing He created last time He was at work. And the Bible talks about remembering the works He has done. The Bible also give us hope, and I think there are a couple of verses that come to mind when I think of remodeling.
"He has made everything beautiful in his time..." Ecclesiastes 3:11
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Phillippians 1:6
One day we will have glorified bodies that don't need any more remodeling. In the meantime we can take hope that we are being transformed to bring glory to the Lord and we can rejoice with those who have been remodeled and transformed. We can share our stories to bring others hope in the midst of their own remodeling.
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23