It’s time for us to more faithfully call the youth forward. It’s past time for us to pursue their hearts for Jesus and then help lead them to establish real relationship with Him. Instead of shiny and shallow youth groups that further cater to the entitlement and quick pace of technology, what if we began to offer deeper opportunity? Sure, not all of them would respond, but I guarantee that some would and then as others saw the depth and peace that took hold of them, then more of their peers would come and desire a deeper walk too. Honestly, I believe that for far too long we’ve dumbed down the walk with Jesus because we don’t think kids will respond, but from my experience working with teens, I’ve seen the opposite. In my experience I’ve found the teens are craving the realness of a deeper walk with Jesus. Of course, they are still silly and flighty, but they will continually come back to the deeper expression, if we simply continue to offer it.
We love to read the scripture from 2 Timothy about not despising youth…but then we treat youth as if they are incapable of depth.
I guess you might be wondering why I’m on this soap box today. Well, largely because I can very clearly see that culture and Hollywood are eating up and spitting out the youth of today and the youth are losing their conception of what’s real. They’ve largely lost their ability to see the value of hard work. They’ve never learned the value of being long suffering.
It’s largely our fault, as parents, because we’ve created a world for them where they lack for nothing and rarely face conflict of any kind…but it’s in the conflicts and struggles of life that we develop character and strength.
We need friction in our lives. Just as a butterfly in the cocoon needs the struggle of getting out of the cocoon to strengthen its wings, we need struggle to strengthen us internally.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So, it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of His discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands. Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies. For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love. For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. Lamentations 3:22-33
As a parent, I know it’s very difficult to see a child struggle in any way…but I have learned that when I don’t give them room to struggle then we will all pay for it later. I’ve learned this the hard way…by making mistakes. But I repented and now I’m much better at stepping back to allow God’s hand to move in their lives. The bounty from this practice has been great!
I encourage you to give your kids space. Stand carefully watching but let them struggle sometimes. Listen to God and respond when He tells you that He needs room to work in their heart. It’s a gift to our children when we allow them to be grown in this way while they still live in our homes. It’s a gift because of the level of protection they have while safely residing in our homes.
If we let them wrestle with life while at home, then when we send them out into the world, we will have much more peace and they will have much more success.