A childhood bouncing between foster homes, never once getting to stay and just be “gotten”.
The friend whose sibling just stopped talking.
Years of chronic pain from, of all things, falling out of a chair wrong.
This week has been a rough reminder of the valley through which an entire generation is slowly plodding en masse. My friends’ stories are piling up.
Feeling invisible because your siblings on either side get more attention.
An occupational disease from an employer that obscured working conditions to save money.
Loneliness – not just that of being single, but of being single without family or friends because of something “off” in the personality.
A denomination shifting doctrine (or shifting back) and leaving some behind, unsure of their place in God’s kingdom despite how hard they’ve served.
Being attuned to poverty in every direction and unable to stop it all.
Coming home from the battlefield and wanting to end it all because of the carnage witnessed and the brothers left behind.
A knot of emotion, manifesting physically in the stomach, that just will not stop screaming lies hour after hour, week after week, year after year no matter what medication is tried.
And to top it all off, a Christianity that tells them – truthfully – that God has no obligation to make it end.
I would not pretend that previous generations have lived and died on a flowery bed of ease, but this is something else. Millennials are the grandchildren of the sixties. Enough said. Compound familial brokenness upon itself down through enough generations and you get…well, what we’re looking at now. God did say it would get worse towards the end. Even if that doesn’t explain all the trials I mentioned, it does make them harder to undergo.
And instead of love, only judgment often comes – “why can’t they just snap out of it?” Things like the recently revealed college admission scandals don’t help. The character problems of some give the entire group a bad name. Some of our pain, to be sure, is on us.
It’s tough to impart spiritual truth to millennials. Did you know that words like “glory” or “salvation” will shut some millennials down almost instantly? They’re priceless words, but the only thing they see is stern, detached buzzwords from a previous generation who don’t get what they’re going through. No, that’s not fair. No, I’m not willing to leave those words behind. But it highlights the difficulty of revealing Jesus to this group. Most want nothing to do with a God of pain.
We’re not dumb. We’re not (all) entitled. We’re not (all) seeking a victim complex.
But the swells do keep coming, and we’re tired of getting rolled.
A speaker I once heard said, “I believe the healing God wants to do in this generation is emotional.” Perhaps hearts, not issues of blood or withered hands, are what Jesus will pursue this millennium.
And perhaps we can be part of it. Consider God’s infinite patience for any person, his ability to convert even Paul to the side of the kingdom. If we simply embrace, listen, forgive, and weep with those who weep. Those are the foundation to the trusses of deep spiritual truth.
A bruised reed He will not break and a smoldering wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. (Isaiah 42:3)