But to Adam he said, “Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground thanks to you …” Genesis 3:17
I squatted by a campfire with African refugees in a Côte d’Ivoirian shantytown. In the sand, I drew two parallel lines to show the gulf of sin. A stick figure depicted man on one side and a radiant cloud represented God on the other. As I added a cross over the gap, my interpreter explained the gospel.
A Liberian man in his thirties crawled from under the plastic tarp of his hovel to join our group. His living space was one meter high by one meter wide. He made no claim on Jesus that day, but hopefully a seed was planted because he must have more. I wanted him to understand the offer of salvation so his squalor might be replaced by paradise.
As we talked, children played around the ramshackle camp. I asked myself how they could be so nonchalant about their circumstances. But the little ones had no clue they were the poorest of the poor. They were too young to remember anything except fleeing war and bivouacking.
I, too, fail to grasp how cursed is my preliminary existence on earth because it’s all I’ve known. I have a hard time imagining life without brokenness. Everything is infected by the curse of Adam. Rivers writhe with microscopic terrorists, animals and humans eat one another, and my own thoughts can’t remain pure. Nothing I experience today will be whole, and still I go on laughing.
It’s okay to be at peace because Jesus has a scheduled plan for remaking heaven and earth. It’s not okay to be content with this life as it is. This is not God’s final work. That refugee man must have more, and so must I.
Prayer: Spirit of Jesus, separate my heart from the corruption of life.