Nearly anything can be purchased at traffic lights throughout South Africa. Colorful, persistent vendors peddle phone chargers, toilet brushes, steering wheel covers, fake sunglasses, clothes hangers, umbrellas, flowers, trash bags and just about anything you can think of. It’s like having the Dollar store come to you. Who needs the mall when you can shop at the traffic lights?

At each of these same intersections, other vendors walk between the cars relentlessly selling a magazine entitled, The Big Issue to drivers held captive by the red light. Each issue consists of a variety of articles written about the latest world news, pop culture, current events, local gossip and so forth. The title of the magazine itself begs the question… “what exactly is the big issue?”

In our part of the world, the big issue might be: “how do I pay the school tuition for my kids?” Or, “where do I find a decent job, or any job for that matter?” “How do I stay warm and dry this winter?” “How do I get the medication that my mother so desperately needs?” What do I do now that my life hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would?” All of which are very real issues – big issues that require a loving response and an assurance to those seeking answers in the midst of ups and downs and the uncertainties of life.

Jesus told us in John 16:33 “… In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage – I have conquered the world.”

Isn’t it good to know that in the midst of trouble, suffering and curve balls that life throws at us, that we serve a loving savior who has conquered the world? That hope, that message is the big issue that people must hear – that God is not mad at them; that He has not lost his recipe for a miracle, and that they are not the exception to His never-ending love. Our heart should always be to see lives changed and transformed by this Gospel message.