You can fix it; at least have a much better chance at it, if you can picture the problem – in this case, a puzzle of two generations. With a picture of either how it is, or how it is supposed to be, you have a great start in adding others, to determine the right course of action. The pinnacle of this, is having a picture in front of me when I go to the Lord in prayer. My heart reaches out farther and deeper when I can see a face, and especially a first name.
Our first task, right now, is to understand some about the surroundings in this picture of a puzzle of generations. The surroundings can be anywhere on the planet, in a church basement, jungle clearing, basket ball court, living room, or a pizza restaurant. We have to see the big picture first. On one side of the picture I see teens, both genders, racing at high speed with all the focus of a stampede of horses in a thick cloud of dust.
If you were to stop one of them for a second and ask just two questions, here is probably what you'll get. "Hey, teen! I got two quick questions for you. Number 1- Where you going in such an all-fired hurry? And number 2 – What's this going to cost you?" The questions are not rocket science and don't require a ten minute answer, but this is likely some answers you'll get:
The teen answers will likely include: "I don't know where I'm going or how long it will take. I don't know what it will cost, and I haven't asked. But see, everyone else is doing it. This is about the only way I'll have friends – is if I join the crowd. If you really want to know the truth, no one else wants to be my friend or even care a little about me; my parents are afraid of me and the church not far from my house doesn't want me around, 'cuz I like computers and they're afraid of them. They say 'God is Love.' Well he sure doesn't care about my generation, even if I don't have orange hair, cut myself, and smoke dope."
The teen continues, "See, what grownups don't understand, is that most every one of us teens is terrified on the inside. We don't know where we're supposed be, what we're supposed to be doing, and who we are supposed to suck up to. Sir, it's like we're hurting deeply and no one cares enough to at least listen. That's the first big step. Just listen to our needs without cramming a monster Bible down our throat before we finish our first sentence."
The Other Side of the Picture
The adults, especially the silver-haired ones, have bad memory. No, it's not the memory that fails to tell you where you parked the car when you come back out of the store, or even to take your glasses off, before putting eye drops in. There is a memory failing that is far more serious and becomes the basis of lots of lies that come from lips like ours. The lie is simply stated as: "Well, I never did that kind of stupid stuff, when I was a teen!" You've likely voiced it or at least thought it, when you've noticed teens that certainly wouldn't fit into your teen class at church. No, technology wasn't as advanced as it is now, but the self-willed youth that called his parents stupid and other such pitfalls was just as prevalent then. Satan was still at work, big time.
If you could peer into the hearts of the silver-haired couple on that side of the puzzle picture, you could see two hearts pounding with a passion for someone that needed them; someone they could share their many unused hugs. They continually ask themselves, most every day, "God what am I supposed to be doing before your soon return? Are you going to come back and find me only checking the newspaper to see if my name is in the Obituary? God, I want a mission project that can change a heart. No, I can't travel to Africa or Australia to be a missionary. Is there someone I could try to help nearby? I'm no preacher or trained missionary, but I know how to hug, teach someone how to fish, or bake cookies. Oh. And I know how to tell someone else how much love you poured into me and my spouse."
Now this picture is easy to understand as you and I get the big picture, standing back. But put yourself in place of one of the teens or silver-haired couple. Tape your first name on the chest of one of them. Now, you're a part of the puzzle. There is no escaping, others are watching the puzzle picture as you now are in it.
What will they see? Can you imagine yourself looking up from the puzzle surface at those watching and ask, "Please pray deeply for me. I want to help fill in the puzzle gaps with my life, and only God knows how. Those teens across the puzzle are going to self-destruct, and I WAS ONCE ONE OF THEM!!"