I found this school desk in one of the sheds.
It's an old desk, and I don't mind if it looks old, but in order to bring it into my relatively clean house with new carpet and all that, a good scrubbing was necessary and a coat of paint advisable. I intended to do only minimal sanding, but minimal turned out to be considerably more than I had anticipated. When I applied some stain, the random nicks turned into legible graffiti. So, I sanded again, and the more I sanded, the more graffiti I found! But never fear, the desk still looks old.
I couldn't help but think of the Christian life as I sanded. It seems the more work the Holy Spirit does in our lives, the more weaknesses are revealed. The surface dirt hides the real problems, and as that is removed, we see the deeper cuts and scratches. Then, when a coat of finish is put on, and most of the surface looks clean and shiny, the deep, dark cracks that we hadn't seen before stand out in bold relief. When I sanded those out, it created splotches in the surface. The places that had been marred by scratches were now even smoother and lighter than the places that hadn't needed as much work. And so it is. Not perfect, but useful and not unattractive.