The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, October 18, 2022, comes to us from Debbie Purcell of Florida.
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:1-6 NRSV
I decided to refinish an old piece of furniture that I thought only needed a little work. But stripping off one layer of old stain just led to another layer of stain that I had to strip away in order to uncover the beautiful wood hiding underneath. As I scraped and sanded each small section, I asked myself: Is this piece of furniture really worth all this hard work, or should I just toss it out and get something new?
I thought about how God works in a similar fashion. God views us as beautiful children, no matter how scarred and damaged we are. God often has to strip away one small part of our lives at a time to reveal the beauty hidden inside. But as with that old piece of furniture, our lives can shine again and be brighter and more beautiful than any new piece of furniture. God can reveal our character and uniqueness. God will never choose to toss us aside. We just have to allow God to finish the good work in us that has already begun.
Psalm 139:14 reminds us that God has painstakingly and intricately honed us together, much like a skilled woodworker carves beautiful embellishments into a table. Debbie’s reflection invites us to pause and be thankful for the many times God has stripped away the layers of stain that have tarnished our souls. Like a master crafter, God seek to preserve our true beauty while clearing away the doubts, negative self-talk, bitterness, mistrust, envy, greed, selfishness, and pettiness that mar our true splendor. You are a masterpiece in the making, so that you might draw others to our creator.
Dear God, refinish the parts of our lives that are keeping our true beauty from shining through. Use us always in your service. Amen.
-- Debbie Purcell
Thought for the day:
No matter my scars, God sees the beauty in me.