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My wings are crumpled and the world is tweaked

Let's just get this straight. The world is broken, and you can't fix it.

This was true long before the pandemic and the riots and the unprecedented political polarization. It's been true since the dragon entered the garden and said, "Let's do this without God."

To be clear, Satan is not the originator of the curse (Gen 3:15-19). No, the authority to go in and tweak the creation code so that life is no longer permanent, perpetual, and eternal is above the dragon's pay grade. Only God has the power to take what is unbreakable and break it. Only God has access to creation's life-code.

Put a different way,

Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? (Ecc 7:13)

That word crooked! Yep. Things are bent, tweaked, twisted, messed up. Other verses translate the same original Hebrew as "perverse." The picture that comes to mind is of a butterfly we once found that had a crumpled wing. Everything else worked fine. But this one wing came out of the cocoon fully and permanently squashed, like a gum wrapper headed for the can.

And the thing is, we couldn't fix her. We made sure she had a fresh orange slice every morning, and we helped her hop over to it to drink. It was pretty sweet to have the trust of a butterfly, to be able to pick her up whenever we wanted and have her not be scared. Flutter knew we wanted to keep her alive. But we couldn't touch that wing. Any attempt to fix it would have simply crushed it further, and possibly killed poor little Flutter.

It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. (Ecc 1:15)

Why would God do this? We know it is not due to anything crooked or perverse in God.

Far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should do wrong. For according to the work of a man he will repay him, and according to his ways he will make it befall him. Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. Who gave him charge over the earth, and who laid the whole world? If God should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust. (Job 34:1-15)

The fragility and crookedness of our world and our own inner selves is not something we can blame on God. Humanity took the bait and trying to "be like God" without God sounded pretty smart, for like four seconds. But it was too late. The life-code had already been tweaked, inside the holy core of the human heart. God's curse on creation was just a formality. The curse was God's accurate portrayal in creation of what had already occurred - apart from his doing - in our hearts, rendered crumpled, mutilated, and impotent by the simple act of one sin.

But that was all it took. One act of life outside of God's life is death. You can't cut a flower off the bush and then put it back again.

The curse is not God's fault. But it is his doing. The Bible is 100% about the story that follows - a story of God fixing the crooked world and the even more crooked human heart - for anyone who would trust him to do so.

For God so loved the crooked world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes that only he has the power to make straight what is crooked will not perish but have the life-code restored, body, mind, and spirit! For God did not send his curse-crushing Son into the world to condemn the world. That would be silly, since the world already stands condemned and is presently in chains of bondage by the power of death.

As Job reminded us earlier, "If God should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust." God already did that, all the way back in Genesis 3, dust to dust. We live in a world of acute cosmic justice, a world in which those who want to live without God are able to do just that. And it destroys them every single time, because God alone possesses the power of life.

But since that one moment of cosmic justice, God has been working on his glorious plan of mercy. He's offering us the tree of life again, in Jesus Christ.

Flutter lived longer than most butterflies do. She was safe from predators and cold, constantly fed with good food, and truly loved by four little kids. (Honestly, what butterfly can say all that?) In spite of the wing, it was perhaps the best life a butterly could have hoped for.

This is what God does. He rescues us into his love. His love comes first, and then he fixes things. But he wants us to live in this crumpled world for a while, so we can learn to trust him in it. Our hearts are born into cold and hunger, and we grow up with the awareness that the world is not a place to be trusted.

Faith in Jesus isn't just a thing you do once and then expect to live a fully restored human life. No. Your spiritual wings are still very crumpled. You still need someone to provide you with spiritual food. You need him to keep you spiritually safe. You need to learn to trust his hand in your life, even though he isn't fixing what is crooked quite yet.

He wants you to see him there, because he is the missing piece. He is the food, the safety, the life that humanity rejected when everything got tweaked. The primary problem is not what has gone wrong in the world, but what has gone wrong in our hearts. We are tweaked, and the world is literally a picture and product of the human heart. There's been a lot of meme-ing and chortling about how tweaked 2020 has been, but guys, what we've seen in this brief unveiling of the power of the curse doesn't even come close to revealing how deep the problem goes. It can't be fixed with a mask. It can't be fixed with a new president (or an old one). It can't be fixed with a stimulus check. The problem of the crumpled human spirit and the crooked world of atoms and molecules is God's and God's alone to fix.

In Christ, our advantage over the curse is this: knowing Jesus makes us want to be made right again. This is an advantage - the sign of a living spirit - because it causes us to cling with our spindly, feeble spiritual limbs not much stronger than a butterfly's to the hand that feeds us and keeps us alive. We groan for this, and this is what he has promised to do (Rom 8:18-25). He made you and he will remake you, fully uncrumpled, but what you need at the root of all your problems is him.



There was actually another butterfly we hatched, a year or two later. Squiggle's was a sadder story because her proboscis was jacked and no matter how safe we kept her, no matter how fresh the oranges, she simply couldn't drink to stay alive. And she was freaked out. Because she was constantly in a state of hunger and desperation, and probably pain so that any time we reached for her she would hop around and eventually just tip over from weakness and exhaustion.

This to me is such a sad reminder of the way we often view God. We're so weak, so fragile, and so desperate for something we've never even known that we can't see his power as love or his mercy as safe.

We need our proboscis fixed. Our ability to even sip one cool drink of the living water is tweaked. Our souls were made to drink of God (Ps 42:2), and our souls, like the twisted proboscis, are jacked. The irony of sin is that we distrust him because we're so desperately thirsty. We look at him and we feel the thirst, and we hobble away in fear.

Wisdom is the realization that only God can fix this all. Wisdom is saying to the devil and his whole world system of medicine, money, education, philosophy, religion, good deeds, quantum physics, politics, self-care, and self-identification, "This can't be done without God, you Lying Snake."

Stop trusting in the broken world to fix the broken world. God can do it. And he already is. Just keep drinking from his hand.

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