The following post represents one of my Reflections in turning 40, otherwise known as “Forty-flections”. I have likened this personal milestone to the biblical trek of the Israelites from Egypt to their Promised Land…because that’s how long it took them to get there! And that’s a long time!
You know, back in 2012, there was a lot of hype about what would happen once 2012 ended. Even I wasn’t so sure about what would happen. Once 2013 came, it dawned on me that, perhaps, there’s more to the scriptures than I first thought….that there’s more that I wasn’t understanding.
There was a point back then that I was inwardly hoping for the return of Jesus Christ. That is the pinnacle of every Christian Believer on Earth! However, other religions are also waiting for the return of their Savior, their Messiah. (It’s even interesting how Hollywood movies depict a lot of similar thoughts…whether out of mockery or what, I’m not sure…but their stories have a lot of “prophecy” and “return of One who will save”, some kind of “Deliverer”. Even their Action Hero movies have similar themes.)
Anyway, when it didn’t happen when it was hyped up to happen, and other events “foretold” to happen didn’t happen as they were hyped to be, I realized that I am here for a much different purpose than I initially thought. And I went back to the Trek of the Israelites, after their miraculous crossing of the Red Sea with Moses…for some insight.
It took them 40 years to cross the wilderness before they reached the Promised Land. Why did it take them so long?
Because the generation that left Egypt still couldn’t fully let go of the traditions of Egypt. They were slaves for so long in a land full of other belief systems (gods) and a material prosperity of sorts that they had developed habits and tendencies and ideas that were contrary to the Lord’s way of doing things. And those traditions needed to be purged from the Israelites. The Lord didn’t want those worldy traditions and behaviors to come into the Promised Land.
So, an entire generation had to die off in the wilderness….and with it, the old traditions. Even Moses couldn’t go into the Promised Land.
However, the Lord had to raise a new generation from the old one. This new generation would inherit the Promised Land. This new generation must be freed from the old traditions, the worldly beliefs and practices of an unbelieving society. This new generation would be raised up…in the pure, undefiled wilderness. The parents from the old generation had to teach their children, the new generation, what the Lord expected of His people. I’m sure that there were parents who didn’t quite catch the vision of that, but I’m sure that there were parents who did. These parents raised up a generation that would Trust the Lord, Love Him, put Him first, and be Obedient to His instructions and Teachings. Even the Lord would train some of this new generation. Joshua, the one who took over for Moses, is an example of this new generation, raised by righteous parents, and taught by the Lord. He was the one who eventually led the Israelites into the Promised Land.
Back to Me…
I’m part of the old generation. I knew of a world much different from the kind of world we live in now. I knew of a world before the Internet, before microwave ovens, before personal computers, before mobile phones. I knew of a world when America was held in high regard, when movies, TV shows, and music had virtuous and moral characters and messages, and religion was respected. That world still held Truth in high regard, Moral Rightness and Virtue had value, and we prospered with relative peace.
I saw that world change. Drastically. 180 degrees. And maybe, it’s because I grew up and understood the world a bit more. But maybe, it’s because the world really did change that much.
I saw materialism rise, immorality increase, technology leap. I saw virtue degrade, America fall in respect and regard, and Globalism reach everywhere. I saw distrust increase among people, information oversaturate our minds, deception spread rapidly, God thrown out of everything, and many mortal and comic-book heroes revered as gods…taking God’s place. A new world has been built behind the scenes…and it is rising at a deceptively alarming rate…right before our very eyes.
As Christians, we’ve been called out to leave that new world. That is our “EGYPT”. There are those of us who feel that urge, that injunction calling out from within ourselves. We can’t leave that world physically, no matter how hard we try. It is literally everywhere. We must live in it. And we must be surrounded by it.
But we don’t have to be a part of it. And it doesn’t have to be a part of us. Like the Israelite old generation…we may be in this wilderness for a while…but we have a purpose!
We are the Transition Generation. And this is our Wilderness of Faith.
Our job is to raise the next generation to be ready to enter into the Promised Land. What is that “Promised Land”? Could it be the prophesied 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ? Maybe. Could it be Zion of the foretold Millenium. Maybe. Could it be the promised Eternal Life with God. Maybe.
What’s important is this: We need to raise our children to be Christ’s people. They need to Trust Him. They need to Recognize Him, Listen to Him, Love him, and strive to be Like Him. They need to know how to Hear the Holy Spirit’s whispering…to know what to do. They need to be Honest, Upright, Morally Clean and Virtuous. They need to learn how to keep their promises to God. They must learn to Forgive and accept Forgiveness. They must learn to change their ways on their own, without having to be told to change. They must hunger for the Scriptures, and “feast” on their teachings. They must learn how to draw upon the powers of Heaven, and that they cannot use it to benefit themselves…but to benefit others. We must teach them how to want to be with God, and how to be like Him.
Our children are active. They are hungry to do, to build, to create, to use whatever gifts they’ve been given. They want purpose. They are hungry to fulfill what they’ve been sent here to do. They need us to help them realize who they really are and what they’re capable of doing. They need us to teach them…and show them how it’s done. We must teach them what we know how to do, how to be. And if we don’t know how to be Christ’s people…well, we’ve gotta learn now!
That’s our challenge as parents.
And to You, the Rising Generation…
You, our children…you have a responsibility.
You will be deceived into thinking that you are Superheroes. You will be told that everything is taken care of, and that you don’t need to contribute. You will be coddled and protected. You will be isolated. You will be stirred up to various kinds of frenzy. You will be enticed to follow the behaviors of this new world.
Do not fall for it.
Yours is the challenge to understand your particular mission on this earth. Yours is the challenge to rise above this world, this new order of things, the filth that lies at the bottom, and the mist of deception that surrounds you. Yours is the challenge to be the son or daughter of God that you are, and to bring Goodness to all around you. And Goodness requires that you understand the Source of all Goodness…and that is God, for without Him, there is no such thing as Good and Virtue and Truth.
To the Transition Generation…
We have to live in this world. But we don’t have to be a part of it. We can stand apart from it. We may have to stand against it. But we can do so as Christ did…peacefully, with a full knowledge that we are sent here to do so.
We may not live to witness the Return of our Savior. We may not live to be a part of Zion and the Millenium. That may not be our privilege to behold. But we can raise our family to be a Faithful, God-loving, Christ-led generation now.
We can entrust them…To Him.
And we can instill Him…in them.
–The LDS Lamplighter