I have heard that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. One of my favorite hobbies is to wander through thrift stores looking for a bargain. The aisles contain things that might qualify as junk to some, but for some reason, their previous owner donated them instead of dumping them. I love it when I find something that I need or that I know I might use. On a recent treasure hunt, I found an old guitar collecting dust behind a counter. I recognized it right away as a Yamaha.
The color of the wood of an acoustic guitar can help identify its age. The older the guitar, the richer the tone. By the dark, almost orange tint of this one, I could tell it had seen many years and plenty of tough times. It looked water damaged and had a large crack in its upper side. Its neck was bowed, and residue caked its strings. Despite these blemishes, I decided that this old Yamaha needed a home and some tender love and care. With a little negotiating, I bought it for $60. The case I carried it home in looked even worse than the guitar itself.
I took my new treasure to my favorite guitar repair guy, Bobby. He’s a master at repairing instruments. He looked it over and shook his head.
“Bad, huh?” I asked.
“Not good,” he replied. “I think we can fix her up so she’ll at least be playable though.”
“That’s all I want.” I left knowing the old guitar was in capable hands.
Two weeks later, the repairs were complete. I was excited to go pick up my restored treasure.
Bobby had a big smile on his face when I walked in. “Try her out and tell me if she’s okay.”
I was more than pleased. Bobby had worked a miracle to bring the old instrument back to life. To top it off, he only charged me for the strings. Talk about God’s favor in action!
My “new” Yamaha has a beautifully rich sound and a renewed purpose. I even take it to prison events and tell this story during my performances to encourage those who think a restored life is out of reach.
Many people think there’s no hope, that God couldn’t possibly want or use them for anything good. But 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (NIV).
Every one of us is in bad shape before we are “purchased” by God through the blood of His precious Son. We might feel beaten down, tossed aside, and abandoned with little hope, but when we put our faith in Jesus, we put ourselves into the hands of the master repairman. No matter what dark place we’ve come from, He gives us lives full of meaning and purpose that we never thought possible.
I’ve witnessed this hundreds of times in the lives of people I have ministered to. I’ve seen lost souls surrender to Jesus behind prison walls, and as they grow older and wiser and their roots in the Lord grow down deep, their knowledge and perception deepen as well. They become beautiful instruments that God uses to teach and mentor the younger inmates coming in fresh off the street.
Jesus warned us that we would not live without difficulty, but we can all cling to the promise that He will restore us, confirm us, strengthen us, and establish us by His grace (1 Peter 5:10).
Occasionally, I’ll take my old Yamaha guitar in to repair a crack here and there. In the same way, sometimes life causes damage to me—and when it does, I make another visit to the foot of the cross, and I pray that I will remain a useful instrument despite the wounds I’ve suffered.
Do you need restoration? It doesn’t matter whose fault it is or how you got to where you are—in God’s eyes, you are not junk. Your life is valuable to Him. If you are willing to put everything that is damaged into the hands of the master repairman, He will keep His promise to clean you up and make you new and useful once more (2 Timothy 2:20–21).
Kenny Munds takes the good news of God’s love and forgiveness into prisons across America. To learn more about his ministry, go to kennymundsministry.org.