What I Have Learned from Gen Y

8 Dec

Isaiah 43:1, “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine.”

Isaiah 43:2, “When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

Quick, which of the above two Scriptures speaks to you the most?

I am going to guess that, if you are a Baby Boomer or a Gen X’er, you said verse 2.

If you are a Gen Y’er, did you say verse 1?

My Generation Y friends (aged early 30’s and younger) have been talking, and I have been listening, for several years now.

What I hear them saying is that they are more confident of God’s presence than of any specific claim they can lay on God to help them in a certain way in adversity.

They are not only not prosperity gospel preachers, they wouldn’t even know a “name it and claim it” prayer if it hit them in the face.  I like that about them.

Adversity kind of defines their generation.  They are the first American generation that will probably not reach the level of affluence of their parents, let alone exceed it.  And that is not their fault.  We Baby Boomers are so many in number and are living so long that we are going to trash the Social Security and Medicare systems by the time we are done with them, unless they are totally redrawn.

The way our generation is, if that had happened to us, we would be pointing fingers of blame and going off into rages about how it is so unfair for one generation to have to absorb the miscalculations of another.

But most Gen Y’ers are not really doing that.  They are not nearly so “entitled” as we Baby Boomers are.

What I like best about them is that they are exposing how we Boomers tend to treat God as though He were Buddha, overseeing a system of Karma.

We believe with all our hearts that if we do A plus B plus C, God owes us D.  We have very often reduced our Christianity to mathematical formulas.

We even sometimes think Jesus owes us one . . .

What!?  Yes, we really do.  Listen to us go on sometimes about how we served God so faithfully for years and then didn’t get a desired outcome when we or a family member faced a challenge.

We approach the holy God of the universe who allowed us into His family only by way of the painful death of His Son as though He were our debtor.  Forgive us that debt, Lord!!!

The Gen Y’ers don’t tend to see it that way.  They tend to be able to deal with an ambiguous universe in which bad things happen all the time (or things we don’t think are good, anyway), but don’t diminish the glory of the God of the universe.

They don’t ask God for explanations of tragedy as often.  They just stick close to Him when it goes down.

I am not saying they are perfect, but this is one thing I admire about them very much.  They seek God because He is God much more than they seek Him for the goodies they can get from Him.

Learning from them, I have mentally rewritten the story of the disciples panicking in the storm while Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they, or we, merely curled up next to Jesus on that pillow in the bottom of the boat?  If we said, “You are the God of the universe.  I am going to go wherever You go.  I doubt You’re going to die now, in this boat, but if You do, I am content to die next to You, secure in Your love.”

What if that kind of contentment in our relationship with Him manifested all of the time?

It is a goal I have in life, especially after watching my Gen Y friends.

May we all know Him very, very well.


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