Getting Things Right
This weekend, I will watch our oldest child Robert, as he graduates from high school at CVCA. Everyone was right and it “all flew by too fast”. It is hard to let him go, as every parent and grandparent knows. It is not that I doubt his abilities or his success. I know Robert will do well and achieve. We always think about these sorts of things at times like graduation: what job will they get? Who will they marry? Where will the end up? Those are all fine things to consider, but I am focusing on something far deeper. I don’t want my son, or any of our young people, to lead a life that is not worth living. It happens far too often with our young people. They start off with so much hope and purpose, and later we ask, “What is this life all about?” We, as the Church of Jesus Christ, have the only antidote for this epidemic. First, we must remember a few things as parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents:
1) This is not about me, or even my kids: My son’s life is not about my hopes or dreams for him. Much as I might like to make it about me, or even try to make it all about what I think he ought to do or not do (as all parents tend to do). This life belongs to him. And I hope that he learns to give it away each day. This life is about something deeper and older than the hurt and pain of sin and death he will experience. The purpose of this life is also about something far more important than the pleasure and distractions our culture will try to convince him that life “owes him”. I want my son, and all our SPC kids to know that God desires to walk with them in the hard times and in the times of blessing. They are meant to find their purpose in the Body of Christ, as they struggle to serve, to love, and rely on the Lord (and hopefully call and ask for help from mom and dad too. I hear that tends to happen from time to time.)
2) Prayer has never been more essential: As I feel the reality of my son going far outside of my care and guidance, I must remember to pray constantly for him and for his mother and sister. Sure, it is difficult and we will miss him terribly. Really…he is a joy to us. But prayer for our children and grandchildren (and all our congregation’s children) is an act of obedience and dedication. Like Hannah’s prayer for young Samuel in 1 Samuel 2, we must always pray for our children and dedicate their lives to the Lord. I have found this simple act of prayerful obedience focuses my heart and changes my perspective as a parent every time I pray for my kids. It has prepared me for this moment and it is a prayer I will continue as long as I live for both my children. Try it for yourself and know God’s peace and guidance.
3) This generation must choose grace over “love”: This one seems almost contradictory, but bear with me for a moment. Today’s definition of “love” is pretty shallow and self-serving. For them, love is about what they feel when they get whatever their passions desire in the moment. “Love” is the absence of pain and the presence of blissful pleasure or distraction. “Love” is getting everything you want, and having everything your way. But we all know such a perverted understanding of love is deception. True love requires sacrifice, surrender and purpose that doesn’t change with the shifting of every cultural trend. True love is something far more than getting what feels good to you in a solitary moment.
I pray for my son and his generation to choose God’s deepest ideal of love over something cheap and self- centered. When our culture tells them “happiness is getting what makes you happy”, God offers them a different understanding that never changes. It is a deeper sense of purpose, rooted in sacrifice and selflessness. Christ is both the example and the source of this deeper, unchanging love. For the Christian, we know this deeper love as “grace”. Today’s shallow love says “I deserve whatever feels right to me and provides pleasure”; God’s grace says, “I surrender to whatever God desires-even when it seems impossible or costs me everything”. As Christians, it may cost us everything.
The difference couldn’t be any more profound. God’s way is to live as a “Philippians 3 Generation”. That is my prayer for our young people and I ask that you would pray with me in agreement for each of them. I invite you to read Philippians 3 and to fervently and continually pray its words of truth over them. May this generation bring revival to America. May they surrender their lives to all that is eternal and true. With all that our young people face in this present darkness, let us pray they would gain Him, Who alone is worth knowing, even if it requires them to lose everything else.
It is to such a life that God calls each of us. A life rooted in Christ, where each young man and woman takes up their cross to follow Him wherever He leads them, for it is truly a life worth living. One where priorities shift away from the normal, temporary pleasures to something lasting. It is a life where others are transformed just by knowing and spending time with God’s people. It is a life with struggle and sacrifice yes…but with far more blessing, purpose and hope in the midst of everything. That is the life I desire for our son, and for all the sons and daughters of SPC-where God’s Kingdom has come, and God’s grace inhabits each of their hearts.
God is good and He is work,