One of the side-effects of the pandemic was a demand in construction. As people stayed home more, home projects flourished. To give you some perspective—Home Depot’s 2020 growth was 19.9% over 2019. Ask anyone in the home improvement business—lumber costs are up. Supplies are scarce because of overseas manufacturing and delivery. And many products, including cabinetry and furniture, are on months-long waiting lists.
Let’s put a pin there and go to Isaiah 43:16, 18-19. These verses say, “Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, ‘Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’”
The enemy wants us to see the old, and never focus on the new. My past, by the world’s standards, isn’t that horrible. But we are the ones who weigh sin. To God, sin is sin is sin is sin. He is holy, and everything from the white lie to the mass genocide is offensive to Him (Romans 3:23). So it doesn’t matter that the world says that my past isn’t so bad—I know I’ve wholly offended God, and even though I’ve repented and I know I’m forgiven, I still hold onto my share of regrets. We all do, right? Don’t you wish we could forgive ourselves as easily and readily as Jesus forgives us?
And then I was reminded: It’s no coincidence that Jesus was a carpenter.
Let’s pull out that pin from earlier. Jesus is in the remodeling business. He can take down the walls of pride, shame, and hurt in our lives as easily as He can tear out the worn-out mess we’ve made with sinful choices. He can make it all new. There is no inventory shortage of His grace (John 1:16) and forgiveness is never backordered (1 John 1:9). And while He doesn’t wield a hammer and traditional construction tools, He utilizes His Word to change us and make us new (Romans 12:2). In fact, the only time He ever used nails was His ultimate restoration project—when He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross to pay the price for our sins (Romans 5:8).
Here’s the problem: We sometimes miss all the improvements Jesus has made in our lives because we’re still focused on the past. Instead of seeing His incredible renovations and the way He’s changed us, we’re still focused on the rundown shacks we used to be.
But, here’s the truth: It’s not about what I’ve done in the past. It’s about what He did on the cross. It’s about what He’s doing in my present and what He’s promised for my future.
It’s not about my mistakes or your mistakes. It’s not about our shortcomings and failures. As soon as we repent, all of that sin was hauled out in spiritual dump trucks and cast in a landfill that’s as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12).
We spend so much time focused on the Before pictures that showcase our mess when we should be gratefully looking at the After pictures that showcase Jesus’ transformative work in our lives.
Do you struggle with this, too?
If past choices haunt you, remember that the construction project is still in progress. He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). We may feel like we’ve just dented the hope Jesus installed in our lives when He’s perfectly capable of fixing it and restoring our hope in Him (1 Peter 1:3). When we read His Word, making it the foundation for our choices, and when we spend time with Him in prayer—He keeps restoring us. He keeps transforming us. And His work can be seen through us.