I believe Christ is working through us to heal the world. God is working to accomplish his kingdom purposes through us, to slowly colonize Earth with the spirit of heaven. I believe those who seek to follow Christ can positively affect the world around them, slowly bringing new creation to bear, so the world more closely resembles what God designed it to be.
But that won't ever happen completely in my lifetime.
I wish it were otherwise, but it's not. Any positive differences we make are comparatively small. They're not inconsequential, but they suffer from scale.
You can't save the world.
You likely can't even save all the people you know.
But most of us, most of the time, fail to realize that. We think that, since God is working through us, and since we're willing to cooperate, a whole lot of problems ought to be solved a whole lot quicker than they are.
They should, but they won't. Not totally. To believe we can totally reverse the U.S. economic depression, or totally clean up our streets from the drug trade, or totally eradicate crime in our neighborhoods, or totally educate every single child in the state, or totally stand in the way of terrorism is unrealistic. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try, only that we shouldn't despair when we don’t accomplish everything we hope to.
When we do despair, we are guilty of an over-realized eschatology. The eschaton is the fancy word for the end of time, when God finally shows up to make all wrong things right and all crooked things straight, when he reunites this world with his world. Whenever we try to fix everything and fail, the sadness we feel is an ideological sadness born out of a misunderstanding of his ultimate plan.
You see, you can't fix everything. If you could, we wouldn't need God. We'd just need you. But you're not God.
Don't let that discourage you, though. You can still fix some stuff. You can still have some victory in this life.
But not all.
You won't have total victory in this life. That only happens at the end, when you're reunited with Christ in paradise. This is the struggle for the next victory, a partial victory that comes through the ceaseless advance of the kingdom-in-you. God is exporting his kingdom purpose in you, making you and your family and your network a franchise of his kingdom. It's not quick work, but it's well done.