In the middle of one of my many recent sleepless nights, I tuned in a recorded episode of one of my favorite home improvement shows.
This episode was different than most. Usually, the renovators have at least the basic bones of a house to work with.
On this one, though, all the family had to work with was a building with a large main room they had bought to use as a business, which really did not even resemble a house other than a couple small rooms in the back.
The husband had lost his job, so the family had to sell their house and make a home from this building not originally designed as a home.
Basically, they brought the renovators a shell, and asked them to make it a home.
It struck me, because I feel like I’ve been in that place with the Lord a lot recently. Many days lately I’ve spent as an emotional and spiritual shell of a man, with nothing really to offer. The difference between me and the show, though, is how hesitant I have been to turn that shell of a man over to the Master Builder.
Instead, I have fought, clawed and scraped to try to make something of the mess myself, convinced many days that all I need to do was work a little harder to earn His love and grace. And if I did, maybe I would have something to offer Him of my own accord.
But the harder I fought, the more embedded my pain became, the more I wallowed in my own hardships and shortcomings. It’s made for some dark days and even darker nights recently. The darker it got, the more I ashamed I became to approach God with the mess.
The truth is, though, when I have nothing to offer, the best thing I can bring before the Lord is that brokenness, that shell of a man, and lay it at His feet.
In the brokenness of his own sin, David writes in Psalm 51:
“For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Ps. 51:16-17, ESV)
Paul said plainly, too, in Ephesians 2, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
When I am broken, it is the Lord’s loving, creative hand that does the restoring and the building back up, not me. It is His hand that creates the beauty from the ashes, not my own.
Whatever pain, whatever struggle you’re afraid to bring to Him today, just bring it. Offer Him your brokenness to bring the restoration we all so desperately need each day.
It’s okay to shed tears. There’s too much pain for you to heal on your own.
Instead, lay down your pride and your pain today at the foot of the cross and let the Master Restorer lift you up.
Daniel Kiewel is a reporter with the Great Bend Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.