He was a sharp, young man—a “millennial,” by chronology, and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. So, I was eager to hear his thoughts on his contemporaries’ openness to the gospel. “With my generation,” he said, “you cannot begin with truth. We value beauty, love, and community, so you have to start there. Ultimately, everyone will have to deal with truth, of course, but you cannot lead into the conversation with it.” While the message was disappointing in a way, his insight provided helpful guidance for one wanting to connect with people raised in a postmodern age.
Like it or not, we live in an era that is, in part, defined by a deep mistrust of truth. We’ve been taught that truth doesn’t exist at all or that it is elusive and largely unknowable, difficult to ascertain at best. Constrained by skepticism, we find ourselves with little more than personal experience to define reality, and “truth” becomes arbitrary, ours to define by fickle feelings as unique as the shifting shadows we cast.
But even cloudy thinking cannot block out “the Father of heavenly lights,” for His truth still breaks through the fogs of uncertainty and illumines even the soul of the skeptic. And if there is a silver lining to the prevailing worldview of doubt, it might be this—people who do search today for what is real do so more cautiously, and when we discover the One who is “faithful and true,”1 we are willing to pay a greater cultural cost to accept Him.
What do we find, then, when we step into the invisible kingdom of God through the unseen doors of faith? Beauty is personal; it has an Artist. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”2 Love is personal; it has an Origin. “God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”3 Community is personal; it has a Home. “In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”4
Greater even than the beauty we behold, the love we savor, and the community we embrace is the God in whom they exist, whose image they portray. Regardless of era, irrespective of age, we can trust him, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”5
Lord, lead us out of doubt and distrust, that we might rest in the reality of Jesus, who loves us with an everlasting love. Amen.
“Every good and perfect gift is from heaven above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created. (James 1:17, 18)”
1 Revelation 19:11
2 Isaiah 6:3
3 1 John 4:8b, 9
4 Romans 12:5
5 Psalm 110:5