Hidden Potential*

When they were first married, my son and his wife purchased a home that was a short sale. When they first brought me to see the house, it was somewhat difficult to look past the dirt and junk. There were piles of toys, clothes, and miscellaneous items that had been left by the previous owners.  In the bathroom, the tub surround was full of crayon scribbles and the toilets were in dire need of a good cleaning and disinfectant. In the basement the refrigerator still had food in it, and the smell was rank when the door was opened. Even trash had been left in the kitchen can.

The outside had ivy growing unchecked around the entire foundation. The large back yard was full of weeds and shrubs that had been allowed to grow wild, not to mention a pile of cinder blocks that served no useful function that we could see. Dead trees had fallen and the decaying logs were lying on the ground.

Most people would have walked away after seeing the first room, and indeed, at first I just saw all of the surface issues. But on a deeper, second look, I could envision the possibilities they saw in the home. As they worked hard at making the house into a home, a beautiful picture emerged.

Everything was sorted and either thrown away or given to the thrift store. The walls were cleaned and painted. Hardware was stripped of years of grime and coats of paint and looked new. Hardwood floors were sanded and sealed. Broken windows were replaced, and ivy was pulled. Suddenly the house was living up to its potential. It was not an easy task and took hard work and perseverance.  

Just cleaning the refrigerator and stove were huge chores. My daughter-in-laws’ Dad and Mom literally took them apart and cleaned them piece by piece. As layer after layer of dirt and grime was washed away, the stove and refrigerator became clean and sparkling. After all was finished my son and his wife had a home that showed its true character. Underneath all the junk was a jewel waiting to be discovered.

All of this made me think that it is a wonderful thing that God sees beyond our flawed selves to the beautiful people we can become. He takes lives that are broken, used, abused, and discarded, and makes them into something beautiful. Sometimes it entails a lot of hard work as God cleans up the garbage and throws out the bad things in our lives. Sometimes it means that God takes us apart piece by piece, stripping us down to our bare selves so that he can bring out our true beauty. Sometimes it means pulling out all of the weeds and dead, rotting timber in our lives so that we can grow something beautiful.

When God sees us, he sees the hidden character beneath and when we allow him to do his work in us, suddenly the hidden jewels shine forth. I am so thankful that God looks past the surface to see the potential. Aren’t you?

*originally posted April 4, 2011 on CWRN blog.

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