Over the summer my wife and I have delighted in the company of young adults who have stayed in our home and traveled with us. Each one has given us hours of talk time. What a gracious gift. In each case casual conversation has turned to questions of faith.
These are young adults who were raised in God-honoring homes with the finest parents who are proactive in their faith and practice. These young adults attend congregations led by exceptional pastors and were educated in some of Adventism’s finest educational institutions.
But each person to some degree or another was in the process of making faith his or her own. In the end it won’t be their parents’ faith any longer, nor their pastor’s or teacher’s faith. It will be theirs from this day forward.
This is natural for most young adults. That was not the surprise. My consternation came when I realized again how many in their circle of support were less than supportive of their journey. So long as these young adults kept their questions or choices to themselves and presented as they always had been, they were okay. But when they started expressing doubts or confirming new commitments of faith and practice, some in their support network started to panic. Yes, panic!
Now, if we were both in a room together and I said to you, "Right over there is a door, but I am asking you not to open it and look at what’s behind it," where would you want to look first? That’s right, behind the forbidden door!
But that’s what so many are doing to our young adults when they are launching out on a God-invited journey to make their faith their own. Nine times out of ten, our friends aren’t losing their faith (although we tell them they are) but they are discovering ways to deepen their faith which is what God would want from all of us. Unfortunately some go to their graves without ever starting on that journey. It’s as if they are trying to get to death safely---which is not God’s idea of a faith journey.
So we have a choice. Either we can assure our young adults that they are on a good faith journey or we can overtly or covertly try to keep them from growing in Christ. Oh, I know., that’s not easy to do. But if we try to convict and covert them to our perspective of faith, we will be usurping God’s role with humanity. And who of us would dare to do that?!
INNOVATIONewsletter - September 25, 2009