I was driving across the river into my city the other day when I noticed a billboard. There was a photo of a woman, with text at the top that read “She’s somebody’s daughter.” Below that, it read “Building communities that honor women.”
As I took this in, I couldn’t help but notice the billboard that followed it. This one also had a photo of a woman on it, but it was much different, as it advertised a strip club.
Taking the next exit into my neighborhood, I began to think about how this fits into my own life. These billboards represent a vast paradox that we often see as we seek to proclaim the Kingdom of God in a broken world. We can build a place where people can connect with God and humanity is restored to its original design; a place where broken relationships become whole, where we seek to honor and value one another. Yet, this place still exists within a world that is not yet made new. As we seek the reality of the age to come, we’re still surrounded by the reality of this present age.
This paradox often paralyses us. What’s the point of working with a ministry if you don’t see the fruit right away? What’s the point of announcing the Kingdom has come when the darkness seems so much brighter than the light? These are questions I wrestle with from time to time. But then I remember to never allow the paradox of this present age and the age to come to keep me from living out who I already am through the work of the cross.
I think Jesus said it best in John 16:33: “Take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Do not be afraid.