Divinely Designed: Sooty to Smashing

Some would say the beautiful ceiling
of the Sistine Chapel is
divinely designed.

The frescos painted by Michelangelo tell the sweeping story of Bible,
from God’s creation to Christ’s ascension.

(A fresco is a painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling,
so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries.) 

Moms, before there were permanent magic markers
to “beautify” your walls,
there were frescos.

In the centuries since its completion in 1512,
the magnificent images in the poorly lit chapel were illuminated by millions of candles
which eventually layered the ceiling with soot and smoke
until the frescos were a shadow of their original splendor.

A 14 year restoration process began in 1980.

Standing on scaffolding nine stories above the floor,  
experts painstakingly restored
 the 6,135-square-foot ceiling of frescos
to its original glory.

Look at the difference!

(before)

(after)
(Wikipedia photographs)

God created me to be a reflection of who he is,
but years of worshiping false gods, even being my own god,
layered soot and sin on me so thick my original design was unrecognizable. 

I talked myself into believing there was
nothing wrong with being walking pornography as a Playboy Bunny.
But, the pangs of regret I had from years of promiscuity,
drug and alcohol use confirmed that
I was disqualified from any chance of a future without shame and guilt.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

When someone finally told me that there was a God who loved me so much
that He would exchange my shame and guilt and regrets for a fresh start,
it was the best news I’d ever heard.

I was ready for a do-over!

All I had to do was receive Jesus as Savior,
so that the Holy Spirit could dwell in me.
He would guide, teach, council, correct, comfort and
tell me the Truth about my design.

I’m not gonna lie (I gave that up for Jesus, too)
the restoration process from Playboy Bunny to Bible teacher took a while.
It was amazing and embarrassing; it was glorious and painful.
It was the best decision I ever made.

Do you know YOU are a masterpiece? 

You are divinely designed and created by the Master himself!
His print on you is permanent.
Even if it gets covered in grime,
His touch on you is there,
hidden and waiting to be revealed or discovered.

You are divinely designed!

However,
it’s likely that over time,
 you’ve accumulated some grime and you’ve become dulled. 

Maybe you’ve made choices you regret.

Maybe you got schnookered into believing you could handle
a taste of alcohol, or
a couple pills to help you sleep, or
a quick look at porn just to see what it was all about
and
the soot started falling on you.  

Maybe you thought you’d just strike up an innocent chat with that
ex-boyfriend,
or boss,
or handsome man in the profile picture on Facebook and
 the relationship escalated till you didn’t recognize yourself
because of
all the soot that blew up all over you. 

Maybe you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Someone hurt you or
someone close to you betrayed you or
your kids took a detour … and
their soot settled on you. 

Maybe you’ve been caked with soot for so long,
you got used to it and now
you don’t know how to get rid of it!

Girlfriend, no amount of soot or sin,
whether self-induced or sprinkled or smeared upon you,
can diminish your value to God. 

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been accumulating the soot or sin
that has sullied your vibrant colors. 

I assure you that the beauty of God’s design is still on you and in you,
even if you’ve become covered with sooty choices!

God is waiting to carefully and completely restore you.

(Wikipedia photograph)

NO ONE could have imagined
the vibrant colors

hidden under 500 years of grime
in the Sistine Chapel. 

It took years to restore the Chapel to her glory.
It might take time to get your
vibrant purpose and colorful identity in Christ

to show clearly again. 

Do not be discouraged.

Today, if you feel like you need to be restored,
like you need a makeover or a fresh start,
simply ask God to enter the process.  

You might need to ask Jesus in for the first time. 
You might need to ask for forgiveness.
You might need to let him peel away the shame.
You might need his assurance of love and acceptance. 

Just ask him.

Won’t you let the Master Restorer clean you up and show you off
as his divinely designed masterpiece?

Scripture Refresher: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Prayer: God, remind me that I am wonderfully made. I want to believe I am your masterpiece, but I have trouble believing it for myself. Show me how you see me. Tell me who you say I am. Revive and restore me to be purposeful and powerful in my home, work, church and community. Amen