Do any of you remember the Golden Books from our childhoods? Wonderful, basic stories about puppies who ate all the deserts, and chicken little running about like the crazed adults we have become? One story I remember was about a father and mother who fixed things that went wrong. When a button popped off the little girl's dress, Mom sewed it back on with great good humor (unlike this lady who grinds her teeth when having to sew on buttons). When a wheel rolled off the little boy's wagon, Dad put it back on again. If only it were so easy.
At the Turner household we've just been through a month where the God of Small and Expensive Appliances has been working overtime. First the old food processor went in a blaze of glory that turned its plug to charcoal. Then a door hinge went in our Vibe, a great car no longer in production (probably didn't make enough money for the company); the kitchen sink began leaking in a sullen and deeply personal way. Then our furnace man told us there was a crack in the casing and not to use our furnace unless absolutely necessary, mentioning the cheery words, "Carbon Monoxide poisoning." Ack. What else can go wrong, go wrong?
But then I began to think about how blessed we are to be able to walk over to our phone, ring the plumber or the furnace man or the electrician, and somebody actually appears to fix our stuff. I am in awe of people who can make broken things work again. I am in awe of this invisible network of men and women who make our daily lives possible, who: repair potholes in our road, saw down fallen trees which have collapsed on power lines; put out fires; patrol our streets and pull over insanely drunk drivers; drive ambulances; nurse the sick; grow our food, and on and on.
My thoughts turned to people who do not have these options: families living in squalid refugee camps; young girls who cannot go to school because it is not safe; people with no access to clean water or health care. They don't get to "fix" things--they get to endure them. And my cranky mutterings about failed appliances and costly repairs seem childish and self-absorbed. Also privileged.
I wonder if that was one of the reasons why 1st-century Palestinians flocked to Jesus--he fixed things. Big time. He stopped the flow of blood in a woman who had been tormented by it for 12 years and spent all her money on quack physicians; he healed the demoniac who ran naked among the tombs; he raised the little girl from her death bed with compelling words of power; he made the deaf to hear and the blind to see, and so much more. His love was so powerful that it moved through the brokenness of the world, setting things right.
So, my early childhood memories of a family where the parents made things right prepared me for a God who makes things right--maybe not always repairing the broken car or appliance; maybe not curing our mom's cancer or our dad's alcoholism; but in a deeper and more profound way bringing our wounded selves into harmony with his love, enabling us to live with the things which are beyond repair in our lives.