As I look into the future, I spend increasing amounts of time thinking about our kids. How will they spend their months and years? Will they love God? Will they grow to be followers of Jesus? Will they see the Father as One they can trust with everything? I hope our children will and yet at the same time I wonder. Why? I worry because I see our children being marketed to almost all of their waking hours. Statistically, American teens spend 9 hours per day in front of some kind of screen which wants to sell them all the things that will "make them happy". Sophisticated marketing thrives upon getting the maximum dollars from our children while at the same time convincing them they are important and celebrated as individuals. Imagine a world where a child is constantly told he/she is the center of the universe, deserving of every material possession possible and that nothing in this world can make him/her content without these products? You don't have to imagine a world like that- it's already here! My question is, "What impact does all this have on a young heart"? Who are our kids becoming? Where is Jesus in all this buying and selling? Madison Avenue leaves God completely out of the cultural conversation. But my fears for the up and coming generation of children are not relieved by the hopes that our kids are being sweetly shaped to love God at home. Some are and we rejoice in this. But how many homes across America leave Jesus out of the conversation on a daily basis? Parents who are hostile towards God or silent towards Him or quietly disappointed with God routinely convince their growing children that the Father is not good or present or faithful. The statistics bear this out. Our Southern Baptist friends report that well over 90% of the high-schoolers in their 40 thousand church movement will leave their faith by the time they graduate from high school.
Yes, I spend increasing amounts of time thinking about our kids. Will they drag orphan-hearted issues through their lives like so many of their parents have done? Like you and I have most likely done? And yet the Father longs for our children to run to Him. To enjoy His presence and to trust Him with everything. When we trust God like that then orphan things fall away. When our kids learn to trust people and things to make them happy, then orphan realities arre taking over their hearts. But when children learn to trust God above everything else, then faith arises and orphan lies gain no traction. My friends, I'm dreaming of a generation of children who "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness", who will walk in the promise that if they put Jesus first, then all other things will be added to them. Good things. Strong things. Life-giving things. Things of hope and substance and wisdom. But for this to happen, the orphan issues of their hearts need to be challenged and, as with all idols, destroyed. Just imagine a generation of your children rising up to believe in Jesus Christ, be truly led by His Holy Spirit, rejecting the cultural marketers who lie to them every single day about what makes a soul content. I see young people in love with God and taking risks to love the people around them. I see healthy young adults, more interested in passionate prayer and servant-leadership than they are in getting rich and having more and more stuff. And the only way your child will join this kind of kingdom revolution is by laying orphan-hearted beliefs at the throne of an awesome Father God.