My seventh-grade students are in the middle of a research project on the 1960’s. For bell work one day, I asked them whether they had ever felt that they had been born in the wrong decade. The discussion that followed was very interesting. Almost all of them felt that they had been born in the wrong decade and named the 50’s, 60’s, and 80’s as the alternates they pined for.
One girl said with a sigh, “I wish I had been born in any other decade but this one. When my mom and grandma were little, they could go outside and play and talk to the neighbors without worrying about being taken.These days, everyone is scared.We have to stay inside so we don’t get stolen. Neighbors don’t know each other very well, and you have to arrange a playdate to get to see other kids instead of everyone just going outside to play with the other kids that are already out there. Everyone spends their day staring at some screen and not really enjoying themselves.It seems like the whole world is depressed and scared.”
Without hesitation, the rest of her class agreed, nodding their heads and mumbling, “Mmm-hmmm.”
It made me sad, but I had to agree. It does seem that most people are depressed and scared these days. I’m not sure why that is, but I find myself getting caught up in it, too. Fear, anxiety, disillusionment, and skepticism together create an undertow that’s difficult to resist. Take away the life-line of regular face-to-face (or even ear-to-ear) interaction with other human beings –other Christians in particular—and the pull to give up and give in to despair can be overwhelming. Walk away from regular Bible study and prayer, and you are sunk.
Once submerged, it’s difficult to see. Fumbling for a foothold and struggling for fresh air, you reach for something to grasp, a feeling, an experience, a mood, anything that resembles the peace and joy that you felt when you trusted God and rested in His peace. Underneath the surface, we take hold of things that have no root—emotion, false doctrine, shallow religious experience, human wisdom—hoping they will anchor us and make us feel better, but they don’t.Discouraged, we sink deeper.
If this is where you are today, take heart. You aren’t really drowning!
What you are experiencing is just an illusion, a trick of the enemy. Like Gilligan in the Lagoon, you are only knee deep. Stand up, take the reed from your lips, and fill your aching lungs, child of God. Discover for yourself that Jesus Christ has always been and will continue to be your firm foundation. Our Rescuer once and forevermore, He offers deep and abiding peace in the midst of pain and trouble to those who believe in what they have not seen and choose to stand firm in His truth.
“…For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.Who is it that overcomes the world?Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5