by Kay Cain
Recently, I began a long-needed project of restoring an antique cobbler’s bench, originally used in the middle of the 1800’s. I finally had motive to repair and restore the finish because our daughter wants to use it, and I wanted it to look better than it did now - dried out, grimy, dull and broken. As I set out to clean and refinish this piece, I reminisced about how I had acquired it. The first house Clint and I lived in had a very small living room. I was wanting a coffee table that didn’t take up much room.  I wanted something narrow and interesting. Entering the May Avenue Antique Mall (now at 23rd and Drexel) with tunnel vision, I searched and scoured the mall until my eyes beheld just what I had been looking for.  It was solid wood with a nice oak finish. It had a unique shape. The cobbler could sit straddled on one end of the bench with his work station at the other end, a larger square-shaped tray compartment lined by four smaller trays, I assumed for tacks or nails or hooks; whatever a cobbler used. Underneath the trays sat a small wooden drawer, probably for tools of the trade. It went home with me that day and was well used until around three years ago when we made some furniture changes.

When it first came home, our three boys were pretty young, around 5, 3 and 2 ½ years of age. They loved to sit on the bench and use it as their horse. It soon became apparent there was one flaw in the design of the bench. There was no stop at the back of the drawer. The boys could send the drawer flying across the living room floor. It wasn’t long before the slide pieces broke off and the knob had a chip. I soon found another use for the drawer.

Fast forward some twenty-six years, to last week when I got out my wood wash and Restorz-It products and began washing off the grime and grease that had built up over the years. I believe the Holy Spirit began speaking into my heart about what Jesus Christ does for our sinful condition when we believe in Him and put our faith and trust into His hands, and how that process was much like the one I was taking on with this old work bench.

Just as I used this soap and water to wash off the grit and grime and grease on this wood, Jesus has washed all my sins away by the shedding of His blood. As I glued and nailed new slide pieces onto the drawer, I was reminded how Jesus has brought healing to my brokenness through His goodness and lovingkindness. As I attached a stop piece to the back of the drawer compartment I thought about how God, because of His love and care for us, has placed boundaries. The world doesn’t want any stops of boundaries, but God in his infinite wisdom knows without them there will come only brokenness and destruction.

The wood needed three coats of Restorz-It to bring out the original finish. This process made me think about how Christ’s death and resurrection gives me a covering of His protection. Some wood requires more coats than others. Some of us require more of His discipline and patience to bring out the finished product, one that shines and reflects His light. It doesn’t remove all the scars and dents acquired through years of use, but God can use these too, to build our character and to help us relate to what others have gone through and help to bring about healing.

The restored bench does not look perfect, just as we will not be perfected this side of heaven, but it is able to be used for the purpose it was originally intended, which probably won’t be as a cobbler’s bench.

When we place ourselves in the hands of the One who designed us for His good purpose, we can rest assured He has plans for our lives which we cannot even imagine.

Thank you, Lord Most High, for Your cleansing, healing, covering grace!