Broken (part 1)
Years ago, my parents bought me a beautiful glass hurricane lamp with a blue and yellow patterned globe on top and bottom. (This picture is similar, but not exact.) It turned my bedroom from drab to pretty, and I even took it with me when Randy and I got married. Some years later, and I don't remember how, the lamp got knocked over and the top globe shattered, broken beyond repair. I always meant to replace it, but the glass enclosure that hid the lightbulb was still there, so I covered it with something suitable and have lived with it ever since. (I know, I know, I really should buy a new one...) But I got to thinking about broken things this week...more importantly about broken people because people are so much more important than things. And yet, aren't every one of us broken?
I don't think we like to admit that out loud, but every person on the planet is broken at a place no one sees, deep in their heart of hearts. God, who created us, didn't make us that way, but we ended up that way because of sin. And I think if we're honest, whether our belief system agrees with sin or not, we know something is wrong.
My belief system tells me one man broke the whole world. Phil Wickham sings about that in his song "Mercy", and as I listened to the words, I started to imagine--what was it like to be Adam? Can you picture it? What would it be like to live in a perfect world where you walked and talked with God in person, every single day?
Then imagine walking up to a lion or bear or an alligator or dinosaur or some other wild beast and having no fear of touching it or climbing on its back for a ride? Imagine food that grew without your aid, sights and scents and sounds that tasted like beauty and music and joy.
Imagine lying next to your perfect match--a mate hand-picked, supernaturally designed just for you--so in love! Never arguing, never blaming or finding fault. Imagine living in a world of perfect, unadulterated, unimaginable, unconditional...love.
You could do whatever you wanted in this world, and everything you wanted was very good. You could not even imagine doing wrong. Wrong had not been invented! Emptiness, anxiety, depression, loneliness, that vague sense of lostness...were experiences you could not have, could not fathom, and could not choose. There simply was no place for them in your world.
Though there was that one thing...back to Adam for a moment.
Adam had been given one choice. Had been told NOT to do one thing. DON'T EAT THE FRUIT. (You can eat anything else - just not the fruit from THAT tree in the middle of the Garden.)
I wonder if Adam realized the consequences of death. Because he DID know that to eat the fruit meant he would die.
Did he understand what that meant?
A broken lamp might be irreparable, but not irreplaceable. When Adam broke God's trust, when he took that ONE choice and chose death, he took the whole world with him. An irreparable, irreplaceable loss.
Death replaced life in a way I don't think even today we fully realize. When we are young, we think we are immortal. When we grow old, there is still a part of us that clings to time and space because we think this earth will last forever. Every culture in every lifetime has sought immortality. But no one could fix what Adam broke.
Once Adam ate the fruit, he could not turn the clock back. He could not undo the deed. He could not un-set the wheels that his action set in motion. He could not make animals friendly again. Food would never again come without toil and trial. Sights, scents, and sounds suddenly clashed, and a world that once worked in amazing harmony carried an undertone of something off key.
And I think in those moments Adam must have done as the song above suggests he did. After he got finished blaming his wife, and she blamed the snake...after they both realized this was permanent...I think Adam got down on his knees and begged for mercy.
Because when something is broken that can't be fixed, the person who broke it either pays for the loss or begs to be forgiven. Adam couldn't pay for what he did. In a thousand lifetimes he could not fix the world. Even nature groans, the Bible tells us, waiting for the day it will be released from the curse of death. The consequence of disobedience.
Mercy. "He cried mercy!"
And another Man heard that cry.