I am not what you would call a “handyman.” In fact, despite growing up on a farm, I may be the least handy man you could ever meet.
But even I know that to transform a piece of wood into something useful and attractive in your home, it takes significant amounts of work and that often comes in the form of sanding.
Not that I liked any type of manual labor as a kid, but sanding might have been my least favorite. It seemingly took forever to use the rough sandpaper to grind down the wood into something smooth.
Whether I liked it or not, that taught me a valuable lesson — things of value take work. There is no shine without sanding.
Too often though, we want shortcuts to success and tricks to avoid the hard work it takes to accomplish something of value.
The problem is that the work that most often has to be done is on ourselves and that rarely comes without the sandpaper.
I’m ready to be who God created me to be, but I’m rarely anxious for the process it takes to get me there.
Sanding hurts. It scrubs off all the rough edges I cling to. It grinds off pieces of me that seem attached and important.
This construction job is more than I bargained for, but it is exactly what I need to become all that I’m intended to be.
C.S. Lewis gives a similar idea in Mere Christianity:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing.
He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.
But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to?
The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.
You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
There is no shine with sandpaper. There is no palace without power tools.
Anything of value takes hard work and we as human beings are no exception. In fact, we are the prime example. We take work and God will not be content until He has finished with us.
Philippians 1:6 is both a comforting and terrifying promise, “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
He will make us shine no matter how much sandpaper it takes.