For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:11-12
Life is full. Full, and good, and overwhelming sometimes. And busy too, very busy.
Because of all this I only have the opportunity to write about a small percentage of what is happening, what I am learning, what God is up to. Blog posts are like snapshots representing one moment here and another there.
I didn’t want to get much deeper into this week, however, without a brief word about Sunday evening, when Rebekah and I were privileged to host some of the 12th-graders representing the church youth.
This New Generation:
I often post commentary on our young people after Youth Sunday or Confirmation or when they are out doing Random Acts of Kindness. But this was more intimate, more personal, more complete.
We hosted a group of the girls: Kathryn, Emma, Carlin, and Reghan – along with one of the adult “advisors” – and we enjoyed a long, relaxed, wide-ranging conversation around the dinner table. We asked some fun questions, some hard questions, some easy questions, and some penetrating questions. Without exception, they were all open, intelligent, insightful, and engaged.
And – contrary to all the complaints and stereotypes – the only time I saw a smartphone all evening was when took mine out to grab a couple of photographs.
Hope and Promise:
So what’s my point? I guess my point here is hope. Or maybe it’s a couple of the words I love so much – light and promise. You see I look around at the morass that is politics, and much of the public face of religion, and I don’t see so much of the shining city on a hill the ruling generations like to believe they have built. And what is ironic is how older people like to shake their fingers at “today’s youth” and complain about Millennials as well as their younger counterparts.
Well here’s a thought. Instead of sitting on your front porch yelling GET OFF MY LAWN! why don’t you invite them in for dinner? Then maybe we can work together to establish what God said through Jeremiah – and I like how the Amplified Bible phrases it – “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
I don’t know how much you read the Bible, but I have been studying all my life and I have yet to see where God tells the next generation (or the struggling, or the oppressed, or the disenfranchised, or the immigrant, or the young) to “get off my lawn!” Instead, God tends to hold out promise and light and life in the form of the new, the infant, the young – the future.
God never yells “Get off my lawn.” Instead, Jesus is God’s invitation in…
So thanks, Kathryn, Emma, Carlin, Reghan – and all the fabulous young people at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. We believe in the promises of God, and we believe in the promise that is represented in you.
In love, and because of love – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.