Tonight, my father called me in to watch Billy Graham’s final sermon, “The Cross: My Hope America.” It was a beautiful reminder of the love of my God and Savior. Afterwards, they interviewed a prominent Christian author, founder of a non-profit organization, and radio show producer about his thoughts on Graham’s sermon. He is a leader that I have often been encouraged and uplifted by.
He was asked the question, “Do you feel as this older generation, the generation of Billy Graham and yourself, passes away that there are going to be people who can step up and take your places? Do you have hope that the next generation will step up?”
I knew my answer. Yes. Yes, yes, yes!
But then he answered. “Do I hope? Well, there is always hope. But I am scared.” My heart froze. I waited. And waited. And waited for him to come back and say, “Absolutely. I know without a doubt that this next generation will rise up and take their place in proclaiming the Gospel. I believe with all my heart that they will rise.”
But he didn’t.
My heart broke a little. And then it hit me. He isn’t the first one I’ve heard this from. He isn’t the only one who fears the coming years because he doubts this young generation. They are frightened for us. Do they truly doubt our passion? Our desire to see the name of Jesus up in lights? Or perhaps they are just out of touch with this younger generation?
My defenses rose. “We just do it differently,” I said as I turned to look at my dad. He nodded.
You see, we are not the older generation. We are not going to look like them. We don’t have radio programs or churches to preach to. We haven’t written books at the age of 18 about theology. He’s right, our generation is very different. But one thing that isn’t different is the passion that pulses through our veins, the drive and fervor to see our God, the one and true God, glorified.
Do they not see the masses of young men and women going out into the world, giving up their college degrees to pursue the unlovable, to love the one forgotten, to sell all we have and chase after God’s path?
Do they not see the tears stream down our face for want of more of our Savior? Do they not see the moments where we can hardly breathe because we are so overcome by the holiness of our God? Do they not see that beneath the beanies, plaid shirts, skinny jeans, we love our Lord?
Of my own close friends, 50% have gone into full time mission work. And the rest are passionately seeking to shine Christ’s light in their workplace.
We do not take our calling lightly. We do not sit back. We are not afraid.
Growing up I was taught, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
You, my elders, you taught me this. Why is it then that you are the very ones who look down on us? We may not work like you. We may not look like you. We may not even have the same game plans, but I can assure you that we have one.
I’m tired of the older generations speaking doubt and discouragement over us. When I think about this, how we are often forced to focus on our failures, when I really stop and think about it, it makes sense.
It is the plan of the enemy to weigh us down with so much self-doubt, discouragement, and depression that we stop short of our callings and passions.
I believe in my generation. I believe that they have been born for such a time as this. I believe that they will step up and they will spread the Gospel as no man has done before.
I see Esthers, Davids, Timothys, Peters, Pauls, Daniels, Gideons, Marys. I see one in every young face I pass.
Why would we ever berate a younger generation into believing that they are doubted?
I do not doubt my generation. I do not doubt the young men and women that I have grown up with. I have seen the passion that shines so clearly in their eyes. I have seen their heart’s cry for more. I have seen their desire for this world to know, to TRULY know the Living God.
And so, I pray that instead of measuring us against the norms of the past, that the older generations may embrace us as we are and take the time to see how absolutely ready we are to rise up and declare the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ.