It was a 99-year-old cottage situated on a perfect little plot of heaven on the edge of a lake.
But the house.
The first time I visited, the amount of damage and neglect nearly took my breath away. I kept saying to Brian, “I can’t. I can’t. I just can’t.” He said OK and we left. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
Once upon a time, this house was well-made. The beams were straight and strong. The foundation was firm. It was a good house. But over the course of several different owners, it seemed to lose its way. Whether through ineptitude, laziness, or lack of resources, problems set in. Mistakes were made. Maintenance was ignored. And slowly this sweet and strong little house became a big mess.
And that’s when we redeemed it. We bought it back.
You see where I’m going with this.
From the moment that we bought it and throughout the entire process, my head has been filled with this one thought:
This is what Jesus has done for me. What He does for all of us.
On our own, we are all a big mess, just like my house. We are filled with anxiety, insecurity, and selfishness. We carry baggage from our past experiences and our bad decisions. And right in the middle of our messy state, Jesus offers to redeem us; to buy us back.
This is grace.
When we bought our house, we had a lot of work to do. We examined all the broken places and the patches covering up deep wounds. We removed the patches and pulled out the rot. There was so much rot. We supported weak beams and insulated the walls to keep out the weather. With patience and love, we restored and protected and re-built and made our little house into a place of beauty.
Just like Jesus does for us.
He takes all the damage, all the brokenness, the fear and the selfishness, and with patience and love, He slowly restores us. Tearing out what is rotten, even when it hurts. Because He knows He can’t leave that rot inside to fester. Healing us and supporting us and rebuilding us to be His workmanship, a thing of beauty.
So when I look at my house, I see a labor of love, but I see more than that. I see Jesus’ labor of love in my life. The labor of love He wants to do in all of us. I see healing and restoration and hope. Just like in our house. Our cottage.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” – Titus 3:5