What I love most about working with today’s generation is the questions they ask! Theirs are the questions that resonate with my headspace and have fueled my quest for understanding God’s love for as long as I can remember. They aren’t easy questions by any means, but they are real questions. These are the kinds of questions the young people of Rio Lindo Academy are asking as well.
I was privileged last month to be able to spend a full week with the students there in Healdsburg, CA. What an enriching experience it was. Each morning we spent about thirty minutes together, but then in the evenings we were given more time to really delve into the tough questions surrounding the character of our God.
What we all discovered was that God is not anything like we’ve been taught. The religious conditioning of this world has left us ill prepared to encounter Him the way He would have us experience Him according to the scriptures. His love is broader, wider, deeper, and higher than anything we have yet conceived.
In the nine sessions we had together that week, the memories that are the most meaningful are those of watching the light turn on in the hearts of today’s generation and witnessing their excitement as their questions finally find satisfactory answers. Though they sense that God’s love is far beyond their full comprehension it makes sense to them, nonetheless!
At the end of the week we closed with the clearest picture of God’s other-centeredness that I believe has ever been given to our world—the cross! Almost the entire school, as well as some faculty, came forward and made decisions to surrender all. They allowed God to lead them from that experience away from all the lies that surround what He is like and into the glorious light of His truth.
Recently, I was told, “It’s really good to know God love’s us, but we need the meat too.” That way of thinking always brings a crooked smile to my face. This is exactly where we miss the point! Young people get the Sabbath! They get the state of the dead! They get the doctrines! Those subjects are easy. What they want to know is how God’s love harmonizes with all of the suffering of today’s world! How God’s love harmonizes with many of the stories of the Old Testament! How God’s love harmonizes with what they have suffered in their own lives! They ask questions like “If God loves me, why is it so hard to understand? Why don’t I feel like it? Why aren’t my prayers answered, if God is so good?” I would like to suggest that if we are going to be studying God’s love throughout eternity, maybe it’s not as “milky” as we have thought. We might just have it backwards! Milk is where we start, but understanding the many facetted puzzlements of God’s love is what feeds us and enables us to grow into mature “Godlike” Christians.
This type of food is for thought and feeling, and at Rio Lindo Academy last month, those thoughts and feelings became life changing realities and set an incredible stage for an exciting school year. I look forward to seeing what God does on that campus in the ensuing months.