My mother attended high school in the late 1940’s in rural north Arkansas. When she enrolled in her typing class, she had to provide her own typewriter, so she arranged to borrow one from a local storekeeper. This typewriter was black, heavy, and clunky, but all typewriters back then were like that. However, Mom’s typewriter was especially cumbersome to use because it was broken. The bell that indicated that the end of the line was approaching and that it was time to reach up and manually push the carriage to the right, didn’t work. Neither did the tabulator key work. That means that when she wanted to indent a paragraph five spaces, she had to hit the space bar five times. Despite the handicaps of her machine, my mother learned to type and eventually ranked second in her class in typing speed.
All of us occasionally deal with machines that don’t work as they should: lawnmowers that won’t start; cars that leave us stranded on the roadside; those blasted, mechanical can openers that make only a few random cuts around the rim of a can. Working with broken equipment is just a part of our lives.
It is not only machines that break. Everything and everyone on this earth is broken. Families don’t function as they should, friends fail us, and jobs go down the tubes. Efforts to do good go belly up, and even our most determined attempts to give up bad habits and develop new virtues rarely succeed. Our bodies let us down with more and more frequency as we grow older. Each day dawns to reveal new disappointments and failures.
We are frustrated, sad, and exhausted. It is no wonder; God did not create us to live in the world as it now exists. In God’s plan for earth, there was to be no broken anything. If His way had prevailed, there would have been no need for fix-it shops, hospitals, funeral homes, Hazmat suits, divorce courts, prisons, psychiatric units, storm cellars or even Band-Aids. But we know what happened. Satan intruded. He baited and hooked us and we are living with the sorry consequences. The only things Satan has not damaged are those things that have been declared off limits to him: God’s Word, God’s Promises, and the eternal destiny of God’s people.
Living with complete brokenness is hard. The only way we will survive is by persevering, getting good people on our side, and going with God. Above all else, we must hold on to an unshakeable belief that this broken condition is temporary. One day God will make all things new. Believe it.