Last week, I wrote an article detailing the Top 25 Blog Posts on this site. My goal is to share what the majority of my visitors are reading. What do the articles have in common? The articles largely dealt with overcoming fear and anxiety. I trust these articles were of value. Of course, I am planning to write more such blog posts.
For me, it is not enough to say, “Jesus is the answer!” Why? It has the ring of cliche and it offers little substance for those who are seeking. Let’s do more than quote our favorite verses. Let’s share the meat of Scripture in a way that really helps.
I’m not alone in this sentiment. My research has shown that many so-called “Millenial” generation have a similar sentiment. If you’re wondering, I was born at the tail end of the “Baby Boomer” generation (1964).
I do understand this sentiment. Because of my physical disabilities, I was never fond of easy pat answers. I desperately needed some concrete assurance that God, the Father genuinely cares about my needs. My heart’s desire has been for my life to have meaning and purpose. Does this sound familiar?
It is the very thing that many young people are seeking. Truth is, we are all looking for it; even if we don’t know it. On YouTube, I have found plenty of videos talking about the Millennial generation and how to reach out to them. These videos point to an exceptionally strong need to make a difference in this world and have a lasting impact. Where have I heard this, before?
For me, it is a very familiar story. These YouTube videos are not saying anything new, to me. In 1964, I was born with physical disabilities that limited my eyesight and hearing. In those days, such children were not given any measure of hope or reason to think beyond the poverty line. It is rare to hear of someone who did not follow this trend. So, I can honestly relate to such a felt need for significance.
Yes, every generation does long for a sense of purpose and desire to do some lasting good. For some groups of people, this desire is acutely felt in the person’s heart. For whatever reason, this need is being especially felt by children born after 1980 or so. They grew up in the dawn of the computer age and they are bombarded with all sort of information.
It is no longer okay to give a simple pat answer to this group. These young people are seeking a more substantive answer and a willingness to be vulnerable. What do I mean by “vulnerable”? I am talking about transparency and a healthy dose of humility. In other words, it is okay to say, “I blew it”, “I don’t know the answer. Let’s find out”, or “This is my experience. It may be of help to you.” Do you get the idea?
Here is a simple illustration stemming from personal experience. Over the years, I had suffered from bouts of depression and a sense of hopelessness. I simply could not see a future and I could not find meaningful employment outside of a sheltered work program. Such is the future that I saw for myself.
One day, I shared my frustrations with a friend at a local church. Almost immediately, she quoted a famous verse of Scripture. It’s Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
How did I receive this seeming great verse? I thought she was nuts and had no clue of the reality for people with disability. I politely pointed to the very real fact of living on the poverty line. Though she was trying to help, it really isn’t what I needed to hear.
Oddly enough, I really needed the story behind that famous promise of God. I suspect the Holy Spirit had been pointing to the context of that verse. The people of Judea were about to go into exile for 70 years. They would no longer get to live in Judea; rather it would be in Babylon.
Babylon was the reigning superpower and tinny nations typically don’t last when they are absorbed by a larger nation. The Jewish people thought that God was done with them and they had no future. It is in this scenario that Jeremiah gave that promise. There is actually more to it than a single verse. Here is the rest:
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listento you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
In other words, God, the Father is not abandoning them and my Father was not abandoning me. Like the Jewish people, I was facing a hopeless situation; although it is not on the same scale. Though I could not see it, my Father is simply saying, “I want you to trust me, with your future. Don’t despair because of you think will happen.”
Years later, I would come to learn the above truth and appreciate the value of God’s promise for my future. Do you see what I just did? It is not an easy truth to grab; especially if you’re drowning in depression and have fears about your future.
It is this type of answers that I believe young people are seeking. It is also the type of stories I enjoy sharing. I am certainly seeking to share more such blog posts. It is my hope that they will prove to be of help to someone.