The Gift

Published in “Seek,” April 29,1989

No one knows how many years the chair sat idly in the attic.  When I saw it, spider webs had grown out from the curved frame of its backrest.  Beneath layers of dust, its dingy paint was chipped and peeling.  But such things aren’t important to a little girl, five years old.  All I noticed was that it was just my size.

                Someone else noticed, too.  The next time I saw the chair, it was sitting in my bedroom, freshly painted a bright, cheery red.  I treasured that little chair long after I outgrew it.  Throughout high school and college, it stood proudly by the head of my bed, holding an alarm clock, a favorite book and other assorted odds and ends.

                Twenty-five years have passed since my little chair was rescued from that gloomy attic.  Recently, I decided to strip its worn paint and get it ready for my young son to use.  That’s when I noticed all its imperfections.  Each leg was fortified with a metal bracket.  The patterned particle board seat had been nailed over a rather large hole.  Between that hole and the seat’s front edge, the wood had split.  Another fracture ran front to back about an inch from the seat’s right edge.  Thin pieces of plywood were nailed across these splits like Band-Aids, holding it all together.

                I briefly considered throwing it out and buying a new chair.  But, I thought, it lasted 25 years.  A couple of the brackets were loose, but the legs seemed sturdy.  The cushion needed a few nails replaced.  And the plywood bandages all seemed secure.  With luck, it would last a few more years.

                As I spread a new coat of paint over it, I thought of all the holes and fractures and weak joints in my life.  Graciously, God chose not to discard me.  Instead, he sent His Son to clean me up and give me a new coat of blood red paint that covers all my imperfections.  I’ve lasted almost 20 years since that coat.  With His help, I expect to last many more.

                The chair is blue now and just the right size for a little boy.  One day soon, I’m going to turn the chair over and show my son all its weaknesses.  And then I’ll tell him about the Master painter and His very special coat of paint.

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