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What's been heavy on my mind are all the young people whose lives have been ping-ponged by a worldwide pandemic

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Holly McLaneAfter the weirdly warm winter we just had, it's good to see the swollen canals, the turning wheel lines, and the bouncing baby calves. Signs that all is not lost, more seasons will come, and there's always hope for a killer snowpack next year!

It's easy to have hope for things like the water table and weather patterns. But what's been heavy on my mind are all the young people whose lives have been ping-ponged by a worldwide pandemic! Where does THEIR hope come from?! They couldn't give a damn about the 10-day forecast because they're just trying to answer gigantic questions they never expected to wrestle with at this age. (Sorry for that awkward transition, folks, but there are infinitely more pressing things to talk about than the weather, don't you think?)

Sure, small talk can distract us from some real hurts and sorrows for a minute, but so can a movie or a bottle of beer, or many bottles of beer; and then what? The nagging question remains; where does our hope come from, and how will we impart it to our youth? A sun-shiny day at the reservoir, with babes and beverages on a jet boat, isn't going to cut it when you feel like your world is falling apart. And the only encouragement offered to you in the high school counselor's office is a poster that says, "I'm smiling behind the mask!"

Perhaps we could turn back the hands of time a few seasons, back to an era when our grandparents had the cojones to drill what they knew about life, and the Sweet Hereafter, into the young at heart who, today are, literally dying to know. Perhaps it's time to clear the computers and junk mail off our dining room tables and fill every chair with the teen and twenty-something people in our lives. Then, feed them burgers and pizza and ask about their big problems and big questions, and wrestle together with the possibility that there is an even bigger God who cares deeply about it all! I'm not talking about going through religious motions that never really satisfy; instead, pass around the platter of authenticity about our own struggles and God's genuine love (even if what we know about it would fit on the head of a pin!) and encourage each kid there to partake. Because, if no one offers them that bread of life, the good times could cause them to forget about God altogether, and the bad times will almost certainly cause them to be mad at Him. 

God never intended for humanity to operate in this world without a basic understanding of how He comes alongside our brokenness, accepts our imperfections, and says, "let's abide." If you're in doubt, try reading your owner's manual: that holiest of books that explains why life is hard, but God is still good. It's all in there. And sharing that kind of good news is a better use of our time than talking about the weather.


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