Alma 43:1 - Alma45:12
My in-laws are expert at refinishing furniture.
They will devote hours to a project and have become masters of the art.
They know about turpentine, stain, and polyurethane.
Most of the process consists of hours of work with a few inexpensive sheets of sandpaper.
Over the years I have watched them work. I have seen an old piece of furniture sitting in their unfinished basement. I have watched over days and weeks as the old paint is rubbed off until original wood is revealed again. It is the refining from the sandpaper that allows the restoration...and it doesn't happen in one afternoon...it happens a little bit at a time all along the way until finally the piece of furniture is in its natural state. Beautiful. Valuable. Loved because of the hours of effort put in over the days, weeks, and months that lead up to the finished product.
I love how Alma describes this process to his son, Corianton.
"And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?
O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish ––good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.
Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored..." (Alma 41:11-15)
I can't help but ponder on the restoration of a soul.
The days, weeks, and months...a lifetime of refining.
I have experienced the process. Just like a piece of furniture, and I have learned that it doesn't happen in one afternoon ––it happens a little at a time along the way. Over a lifetime.
What is the medium that allows the restoration?
It enables us and strengthens us just like Alma said. To be more merciful. To be more just. To be more righteous. To do good.
Through the process we are refined.
Over the years I have felt the Master work, refining me, shaping me, molding me. I have learned patience over days and weeks as the old is rubbed off, scraped away, sanded down. I am learning that it is through the blessing of the atonement that the restoration of my life will become complete...and it won't happen in one afternoon...but a little bit at a time, over a lifetime, until finally the process is complete.
I wonder, in His eyes, if my soul is becoming more beautiful, more valuable through the process.
There is one thing I know for sure...
On the hardest days, the refining times of my life, the moments when I feel the Master hard at work... I know that I am loved.
If He didn't love me so much, He wouldn't spend so much time so restore me to the person He knows I can be.
So I will send out good, hoping that good will return to me again.
Until I am restored.