All throughout our HELP CRIES journey we emphasize our need to create and deepen our sensitivity to the HELP CRIES of our youth; whether we see odd appearances, sense strange attitudes, or not.
I shall never forget that incredible day I had just met a 20 year old boy with crippling Multiple Sclerosis wheeling himself along our trailer park road on that very hot July afternoon. There was no one else there to push his chair or be his buddy for the moment.
Maybe not so much for Good Samaritan purposes, but just wanting to learn more about ex-teens and their attitudes about life, I stopped and found him a friendly respectful person willing to talk a bit.
My heart begged God to guide my lips and not foul this up. I was the 71year old grandfather and with 40 plus years experience as Sunday School teacher, but little did I realize the blockbuster lesson God had for me from this wheelchair friend. I had explained the new things I've been learning about teens that outwardly show they aren't comfortable with the inside obstacles that life has dealt them.
I mentioned to my new friend about the "Preppies" that dress very stylish with a mindset they want to make decisions and manage their corner of the world for the better. The second prominent group is the "Goths". Their fashion includes an abundance of facial jewelry, chains, black clothing, that often includes black makeup. It seems the word 'control' often plays a part in their attitudes.
But I was blown away ... I mean really ... by my young teacher with MS as he corrected my thinking about the third group - "Emos". Until that hot afternoon, I thought the emos cut themselves because there was some kind of satisfaction in seeing their own blood. BOY WAS I WRONG!
I learned that afternoon, in no uncertain terms, that emos inflict pain on themselves (blood or otherwise) "Because that is the only pain in their life THEY CAN CONTROL." My new friend said that cutting pain was something they could control the beginning and somewhat the end. That's the only one they knew they could control. When I heard that, I dropped my cane and almost fell off the tailgate of my pickup truck.
As I spent the rest of the day and many that followed, I thought about how "CONTROL" played a part in each of the three ex-teen attitudes.
It would be good to review each of the three with the 'control' facet in them.
Before I left my new wheelchair buddy that afternoon, I asked him what phrase he had tattooed along the bottom of his left forearm. He said, "Oh. That. It says NEW ENLIGHTENED AGE. I read about it each day. I figure this is better than settling for this screwed up world and all its dead ends."
As I began telling him about my Savior, Jesus Christ, he said he had no faith in himself right now but he's looking.
Each moment I think about my new friend with "no faith in me yet" I think about a ship in a storm. I think about that ship's anchor and its rudder. Can you imagine the despair and maybe even horror you'd experience in the middle of an angry storm, not far from a rocky shoreline, and your ship has no rudder? With no rudder you'd have no control; no way to direct your ship to safety; away from certain destruction.
But a ship must also have an anchor; a way to settle in, a place of calm and safety; a home port, to aim for.
We'll see in a later segment that our silver-haired generation is perfect for reaching out to the preppies, goths, and emos with the promises of God to be that rudder in a life adrift and no lighthouses to be seen. Our generation has a crucial responsibility to reach out to those drowning in the flood of technology with its empty promises and dead-end directions.
We must prepare ourselves simply with Bible verses we can present as anchors; as home ports of peace, purpose, love for each ex-teen. We must clearly simply show that God wired us for wanting control in our lives. And His word continually proclaims Him and His power to exactly fit that need and those to come.
We must show Heaven's greatest sacrifice of innocent shed blood on Calvary as the supreme example of control; God's control in a world adrift in the destructive seas of sin.
Calvary wasn't God's 'Plan B' or a fix for His plan derailed by Satan. It was the willful act of God's own Son; the fulfillment of a prophecy; a promise, stated in the Garden of Eden. God is in control and always has been. Each page of His inspired word is written proof. Read it. Rest on it. Reach out to others with it.