Wednesday, January 6, 2020
In my observations of those much younger than I it is obvious that teenagers have not changed over the generations in their relationship to parents. There is a core belief that parents know nothing about what the teen really wants or needs. Teens seem to believe that people in authority only serve as obstacles to their freedom.
But before we are too hard on them we need to expand our observations to those who are older. We who claim to have grown up and are now mature may not recognize the residual affects of our teenage philosophy. We have an expectation of comfort. We have almost perfected a philosophy of entitlement to only good outcomes. We are too often governed by the law of immediate benefit.
The reality of the entitlement philosophy is revealed when things go wrong and don’t turn out the way we wanted them to. Trouble and tragedy reveal our true placement of trust. Our attempts to avoid pain and suffering and provide solutions that result in our comfort reveal some serious issues of faith. The greatest issue we have is a small view of God’s sovereignty. The need to ensure comfort creates limits on the experience we could have with the God of all comfort. To think that we can somehow provide greater comfort for ourselves than God can is to belittle God and exalt self.
In John chapter nine, Jesus explains to His disciples that the lifelong suffering of a blind man was pre-determined by God as a way of revealing the glory of Jesus Christ to the world. I am humbled by the memories of all the ways I may have missed seeing the glory of God because I “fixed” a problem God intended to use to display His mighty power.
God intends to reveal Himself to us. He wants us to see and understand His attributes. Biblical commentator Matthew Henry says it this way. “God wants us to see his justice in making sinful man liable to such grievous calamities; his ordinary power and goodness in supporting a poor man under such a grievous and tedious affliction. God intends in us to show himself, to declare his glory, to make himself to be taken notice of. How contentedly may a good man be a loser in his comforts, while he is sure that thereby God will be one way or other a gainer in his glory!”
That last sentence is worth pondering. We may be content in the loss of our comforts because we are certain that in the end God’s glory will be revealed.
Teenagers have a hard time seeing beyond the immediate. They don’t believe that the discomforts of their boundaries are actually producing good in their lives. I suspect that many adults still suffer from that philosophy of distrust. Maybe today we will discover the joy of embracing suffering so that we may know the fullness of Christ’s resurrection power in us. (Philippians 3:8-11)