One day last year, we studied genetic diseases in biology class. Problems with your DNA, unfixable mistakes in the deepest part of you. My teacher showed us pictures of people with some diseases, described their affects, told us why they occur and how often, and all the while, my gut was twisting. It’s not that I’m super queasy about things like that; I can handle blood, although I’m certainly not meant to be a doctor. It was the … wrongness of it all.
I stared at faces of kids who look like they’re fifty because they age ten times faster than normal humans and die in their teens. The picture of a little baby girl with Down’s Syndrome, her blonde hair pulled up in a tiny ponytail, hands poised to clap, stared at me. She was so sweet, and yet anyone can tell something’s not right. I still can’t get the images of the girl with Turner’s syndrome out of my mind — happy, elementary school face, but too short, with a webbed neck and worse problems caused by a missing chromosome. And there were more. None of the pictures were exceptionally graphic, but even the simplest, as-normal-as-possible image screams of a fallen world and sin and perversion and wrong, wrong, wrong.
At that moment, I hated Adam and Eve. I hated their stupidity and disobedience and betrayal, even though, had I been in their position, I would have done the same thing. We all would have. But I still hated them, hated Satan, hated this broken world and our corrupted hearts. Those kids should be whole and perfect and able to live a normal life free of fear and odd looks and too many doctor’s appointments.
My heart hurt, and my stomach roiled, and I didn’t want to look. But it was interesting at the same time, so after class, I researched some of the diseases a little more. I glanced at pictures and read stories, and though I still felt disturbed and upset, I felt something more. I still saw abnormal faces and tattered lives, but I saw something more.
I saw Him.
I saw Him in the joyful smile of the Down’s Syndrome girl who should be bitter and angry, but who still giggles and grins. Down’s Syndrome people are renowned for being some of the sweetest people on earth. I saw Him in the complete, sacrificial love of parents for their diseased kids. Those parents smile and hug their kids and give their all to finding a cure, and they look so … satisfied. I saw Him in the articles about doctors who work day and night to try to help, in the nurses who will testify to how these dying children have changed their lives for the better.
And all the while, He whispered to me that, yes, this world is broken, and that we chose wrong, and our bodies are decaying and destroyed. But He reminded me that He is stronger, that no amount of death and darkness can erase His image and His beauty and His goodness. He showed me that His spirit is still here, and He still cares, and that even in the utter brokenness, He is there.
Funny, yet so like Him, how sometimes it’s easiest to find Him in the devastated places. I guess that the darker the night, the brighter the stars.
For beyond the brokenness, is beauty.