"And then Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die.'"
Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV)
We see the ravages of a fallen world all around us. A broken sea of humanity. Grief, loss, dysfunction, and death. When sin entered the creation, all of life began to groan.
I was having a debriefing session with a team earlier this year who had just returned from a mission trip to a remote, Alaskan village. I asked them, "what were some of your perceptions of the individuals in the village?" There was a reflective moment of silence before the team leader responded.
She said they saw so much brokenness, poverty, unemployment, despair, inebriation, addiction, trauma, and family dysfunction. She told me, at first, the darkness had been overwhelming. But then they began to see a beauty in the place and in the people. I knew they had captured the heart of God at that point. Her response was, "they are beautifully broken."
God, in His great love, would pursue a beautiful and broken humanity, covering the nakedness of our sin with his Son's broken flesh and blood. Our team was now caught up in the same pursuit. With God's own heart and with the seeds of the Gospel, they strive to show Alaska Natives the hope that comes from Jesus Christ.
As David wrote in the psalms, "Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him."
Lord, we thank you for pursuing us in all our brokenness, for giving us the forgiveness of our sins in Christ's all-availing sacrifice, and for sharing your heart with us as we share your Gospel with others. In Jesus' name, we pray, Amen.