A few years ago, while I was still in college, I was down in Houston, TX doing hurricane clean-up on spring break. During the previous fall, hurricanes Ike and Gustav tore through the gulf and did an incredible amount of damage to the Texas coastline. I will always remember touring the small bayou community of Oak Island and seeing stilts — that once held houses — completely bare. I recall driving through Galveston and seeing yachts clearly out of place, tossed about in the middle of wetlands. And of course, I remember the blue tarps that decorated the roofs of almost every home we passed by. One day during that trip, my group and I were working with a local church and came in contact with a local man named Enrique (pictured above) who needed help cleaning up his business. I didn’t really know what to expect of the job, but was eager to help.
When we got to the site, we learned that Enrique had purchased an old (and I mean really old) storage facility that he intended to turn into an auto repair and parts business that he and his two sons could operate. While it was cool to pick through some of the junk that was there and help get stuff cleaned up, it was admittedly difficult to see the value in it because the facility was in such bad shape. In fact, I think if it had been sold to a developer, they would have just knocked it all down and started over. Yet, Enrique saw something in that facility that was worth salvaging and turning into something different. He had a vision to make something beautiful, something that would provide his family with a steady income. To me, this was inspiring. Just being around someone with that much hope had a profound impact on my life.
As I reflect on that day, almost 10 years later, I see God in ways I didn’t see him at the time. You see, God loves to make something out of what most people would dismiss as unfixable, a tear-down, or something to abandon. Enrique saw the facility, not for what it was in its hurricane-damaged state, but in what it could be and what it could be used for. I believe that God does the same exact thing (ex: James 4:6). If you’re in a place where you feel like you’re a tear-down or something that’s better off destroyed, don’t give up. God doesn’t see you that way. He wants you to know that there’s still more left for you to become. Just like my friends and I worked with Enrique to begin restoring that old storage facility and turn it into a business, God can work with things in your life, some of which you might not see right away, to build you back up and help you become something better. Don’t give up.