This letter was written to Mark and Leah Janowiak, two Windies who just returned from the mission field in Africa and made a baby.


All the pictures I see of you on Facebook show you radiantly happy. You’re blessed, and joy leaps off your face. At this moment, I’m tempted to think it would be impossible for your sense of well-being to ever diminish. You’re at the peak, the pinnacle, the apex.

I want you to realize that, and to enjoy it. I want you to thank God as you acknowledge all he has done for you, in you, with you, and through you. It’s significant.

Have you given any thought to what must come soon after? Any stray consideration to how life must continue once the first bloom of your happiness has matured? I don’t want to prematurely arrest your gladness, but I would like to help you prepare for the uncomfortable truth that life will not always feel this good.

We live in dangerous times, and our world is sick. That world-sickness festers, creating societal sores. A spiritual cancer eats away at the people we know and love, as surely as its physical counterpart. And in this civilization of deterioration, we are called to be fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, parents and protectors.


Knowing we are enmeshed in an invisible war, how can we contend against powers we cannot see, measure, or predict? How are we to enthrone Christ in our homes? How are we to dethrone the competing powers of this world in our hearts?

Perhaps the simplest, oldest answer is also the best.

A weary traveler, after months of journeying, stopped at the hut of an old man. The old man gave him water and food, as he did to all who passed by. The old man knew it was more than a thousand miles to the traveler’s destination, and so he told his guest.  The traveler looked down the dusty road as it fumbled off into the distance, discouraged, and asked, “How can I make it a thousand miles?” to which the old man replied, “A step at a time.”

How do we make Christ Lord of our hearts, Lord of our homes, Lord of our world? A step at a time.

Tim Keller says, “the earthly city is a metaphor for human life structured without God.”[1] He’s referring, as we often have, to the fact that God gave us a garden, but requires from us a city. When we were ejected from Eden, God’s plan for Eden to expand in ever-increasing “urbanization” became compromised. Those who remained faithful to God continued to cooperate with him, and the scriptures refer to them and to their work as the City of God.[2] But there were others who sought to employ God’s gameplan without God, hoping to counterfeit God’s promised blessings. Their work has been labelled the City of Man, the earthly city of which Tim Keller writes, based on exploitation and injustice.

The good news is that every time we cooperate with God we strengthen his city. We are the city within all cities, working to heal the world. We live according to different values. We observe different practices. In our homes children are held in high esteem,[3] the blessed poor are given a place of honor,[4] service is valued over power,[5] enemies are treated as friends,[6] life is filled with faith and free from worry,[7] and those who mistreat us are held up in prayer to God.[8]

Our invisible war will not be over soon, but that doesn’t mean we won’t win the battle for our children, for our churches, and for our minds and hearts and souls. We fight for the day when our great joys will never diminish, when our smiles will never fade, when our celebrations will never tire.[9] We work toward that future reality when the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our God.[10]

It is coming soon,[11] and we will welcome the Lord as it does.


[1] Keller, Center Church, 141.

[2] Isaiah 62.4.

[3] Matthew 18.1-4.

[4] Luke 6.20.

[5] Matthew 20.20-28.

[6] Luke 6.27-28.

[7] Matthew 6.25-34.

[8] Luke 6.27-28.

[9] Isaiah 51.11.

[10] Revelation 11.15.

[11] Matthew 3.2.