When will it end?
Have you ever been on a road trip with children? They insist on knowing when you’ll be “there” and is it, perhaps, “yet”. We never really grow out of that.
I remember running my first long distance race. This was a critical question—how long exactly do I need to keep my legs moving? When I’m hungry, I want to know when dinner will be ready and what kind of snack options are available in the interim. When I’m tired, I want to know when I can turn the lights out and how many cups of coffee will keep me alive between now and then. These mundane moments of waiting are whispers of our ultimate hope.
I couldn’t keep running if I didn’t know I would eventually get to stop. The end is essential.
At pureHOPE our vision is “a world free of sexual exploitation and brokenness.” We want to see a complete end to every form of sexual exploitation—sex trafficking, pornography, prostitution, abuse, molestation, harassment, rape. We want every bit of sexual brokenness to be healed—the lust, hiding, confusion, pain, shame, and wounds. Total freedom. The whole world. And I bet you want that too. So, when will it all end?
Before I give you the answer, I need to tell you—it’s the best answer, but also probably not the one you want to hear. The “when” of our wanting and the “when” of reality are often different, and it doesn’t help to pretend otherwise.
Back to our everyday life examples for a minute. What would happen if we told those road-tripping kids we would reach the elusive “there” just around the next curve? They would lean forward, hold their breath, and stare hard out the window waiting for it. But what if, as the van rounds the bend, there is only more lined concrete, stretching beyond sight, no “there” for miles. It would be anarchy. A backseat revolt. Melt downs, burning rage, the wrath of a thousand dashed dreams.
What if in running my race I was told there was only one mile left? I would straighten up, think, “you’re so close!” and hold my determined pace, counting down the rest of the way. But what if I really had ten miles left? It would be too much. My legs would give out. I would crumple in a defeated heap on the unforgiving pavement.
Oh how we would love to state our vision this way: We are pursuing “a world free of sexual exploitation and brokenness” and then add, “in our generation.” Now is the “when” we all crave, isn’t it? It would be appealing—very appealing—to promise you, “we will end it.” Our ministry might be more popular! We might garner more support with a claim like this! We. Will. End it.
But we won’t. False hope will only fail us. However appealing, if we act like the end is ours to determine and ours to accomplish, we will burn out and we will disappoint. The “end” is an important motivator—and certainly the more definite the end, the better the motivation—but you cannot arbitrarily declare an end rooted in arrogance or wishful thinking. The end is one we actively wait for in certain hope.
He has declared “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10).
So, are we there yet? Are we there yet? When will we see the final end of sexual exploitation and brokenness? And what do we do in the meantime? We’ll get to that. For now, consider this “wait” training.