One of the things I appreciate in West Africa is their ability to fix broken things. If I need something welded, I run across the street to one of many nearby welding shops. If I need a shirt sown, I go to the seamstress just around the corner. And if the plumber comes to fix the toliet, they will most certainly try working with the old parts before replacing them with new ones. This means I get to keep more money in my pocket. There was a time in America when we used to have these kind of services readily available. Now when something breaks, we simply give or throw it away and start over. Most things are pre-manufactured, and finding a spare part or a person with the skill to fix it at a reasonable price simply doesn't exist in our Western culture. Yet, our God is in the business of restoration. And this Christmas, I'm reminded of how thankful I am that He's in the business of fixing those things that are broken. In the beginning when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, despite their sin and separation from Him, He didn't simply wipe them off the face of the Earth and start over. He would have been justified in every way to do so, but He didn't.
Instead, by His mystifying and amazing grace He allowed them to continue living. He maintained His relationship with them, and offered them a glimpse of a promise (Gen. 3:15) that would save all mankind from this now broken relationship. God is in the business of restoration. Romans tells us..."But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
So, even while we are still broken, Christ came to fix us.
A few months ago I had a remote for an air-conditioner that had stopped working. Inside the remote, the batteries had corroded and a significant piece had completely broken off. On top of that, finding a new remote in the middle of West Africa was a bit challenging. As I was getting ready to chuck it in the trash can, another missionary told me to have our friend Ettiene look at it. The next day, to my utter surprise, Ettiene returned my old, broken, good for nothing remote, fully restored, in perfect working condition. Cost? $2.
Likewise, God can and does take what seems impossible to restore and restores it. Even our own lives. We think “How can God forgive a person like me?” Truth is, He can and will if we hand our situation, our problems, and our very lives over to Him. Your cost? Obedience and surrenderence. God's cost? The life of His Son.
This Christmas, we celebrate God and His willingness to restore. We see Him working in the lives of the people here in West Africa. We see him working in our own lives, molding and shaping us more into His likeness. And we are seeing the relationships between God and his creation being restored as well. In a world that is weary and broken, our Savior Jesus brings a new and glorious morn.
We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And the next time you think about throwing out that old, broken, seemingly worthless item, maybe consider repairing it. You may find that it's totally worth it. Christ is born! - IMPACT WEST AFRICA TEAM