Training for Reigning - 42 - Standing at the crossroads


One serious problem that often faces young people when they are about to enter adulthood is that of attaining to ‘separate existence" - that is, to become responsible for their own lives independent of parental support and control. Some greatly fear to launch out into the workaday world "on their own," and do all they can as long as they can to avoid it. Others, while still in their teens, begin a battle for recognition as being grown up. They feel fully able to "stand on their own feet," and long for the chance (which they consider their parents deny them) to make their own decisions, to rely on their own tiny store of
experience-judgment acquisitions and abilities . . . with the proviso, that is, that home always will be available as a retreat, if necessary, and that father will foot any resultant bills.
Yet another class of young Christians would be content to continue with their home life, local assembly fellowship, and present employment, if their saved parents, or other relatives, were not constantly nagging at them about matters which, to them, are of small consequence, or even un-justified. One of the more common hindrances to home-life felicity is the well-meant, but often most injurious challenge, "If you were really saved you wouldn’t want to act that way."
From the standpoint of Immaturity such statements are apt to be regarded as "carping criticism" based on parental failure to understand, or else on their old-fashioned ideas. And the net result, generally, is a building-up in their children of a disheartening sense of frustration, plus many surgings of resentment. In a few cases that have come under my observation, a life-time hostility has been the tragic outcome; while in another instance, the effect was just the opposite. The young man in question decided that, if his parents were sure he was not saved, they must be right. He knew of no other way of being saved; and so at last gave up. He is now well on in life; but his lost confidence, destroyed by an over-anxious zeal, has never been recovered. These are serious effects, indeed

Now in beginning discussion of these matters, let me deal with the last-mentioned items first.
Why are we parents so much given to the use of restraints of this sort? Is it true that we desire to be critical? Do we unwittingly expect our children to be "tied to their mother’s apron strings" forever? Or have we no confidence in them at all that we worry ourselves - and them - with such persistence?
No, my young friends, such is not the case. We may rightly be considered to some extent, old-fashioned, and critical; and it may be, somewhat censorious. But there are deeper, almost unexplainable reasons behind our hard-to-understand attitudes, and continued worryings concerning you.
You see, we have been over the road, and know some of the pitfalls that you young folks just don’t know the first thing about
to name the most dangerous of them all! UNRECOGNIZED WEAKNESSES. As a matter of fact, a good many of us parents have missed disaster from that cause in our own lives by a narrow margin more than once. And our knowledge of these things, so very hard to explain to young people, makes us afraid for you - especially when some of you seem so loaded up with a foolish assurance that you can take care of yourselves . . . IF you really knew yourselves (Jer. 17:9) you would never allow yourselves to think so, much less say it! But try to remember that expression, won’t you: UNRECOGNIZED WEAKNESSES?
Now I’m not pretending that we, your elders, can be excused on this account from what may seem to you like everlasting faultfinding. But, since we usually are so very hard to change, do permit me to suggest that there is something you could do to help matters. You will recall that Heb. 4:16 assures us that we can pray down grace to help in time of need. (And I believe it, because I’ve made use of it for so many years). So my suggestion is that you start in to pray for grace - to enable you to be as patient under these trying circumstances as His grace can make you. It isn’t likely you can change the conditions themselves very much. But in this way you certainly can change your own attitude toward them. ("Pause and ponder.").
With reference to the struggle for more personal liberty, I may say that numbers of young Christians have told me of their conclusion that the only solution to their problems is to leave home and go to some other place where they will be "on their own," and be able to enjoy some peace of mind. They feel sure that the time has come "to make a break" in order to begin that "separate existence" required by every feature of normal human development. They judge that if they were to go away to some other place to live, they could make a fresh start, and so order matters more fully to their liking. However, having had personal experience of this "relief"- and of nearly foundering, morally, my first year away from home (it was another case of a series of Unrecognized Weaknesses) - I’m not willing to recommend ft without reservations. Furthermore, you will find you can’t run away from your troubles . . . not until you learn how to run away from yourself. But there is yet another factor of vital importance in your life. It is the question, TO WHAT EXTENT DOES THE LORD MANAGE YOUR PLANNING? For, like it or not, the principle of the first half of Psa. 127:1 always is operative in a Christian’s life, young or old. You would be wise to apply it this way: "Except the Lord directs my moves my expectations will be in vain."
This brings us to the consideration of the fact that "two roads before us lie"- hence my caption for this chapter, STANDING AT THE CROSSROADS? You can continue to push for, or to arrange for what you may judge would be a good change, then pray about your choice, and ask the Lord to bless it;
You can pray for grace to leave all the choices, and direction, to your Heavenly Father: Jer. 10:23; Prov. 19:21; 3:5-6. You can believe His Word that the Good Shepherd IS leading you; John 10:4, 27; Isa. 48:17; Psa. 32:8-9; and then depend on His promise that He surely will fulfil Psa. 25:9 in a manner of His own choosing.
These are the alternatives, Beloved. In the first you would make the decisions and arrangements as, and when, you saw fit asking the Lord (as a sort of rubber stamp!) to o.k. your plans. In effect you would be taking your problems out of His hands and into your own.
In the second you would be depending on Him to make the decisions to arrange for your separate existence problem, to direct you as to what you should do, if, as, and when He should see fit. Thus you would rely on His infinitely superior experience and judgment (so to speak) and be certain of being led in right paths. For it is written, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord"; Psa. 37:23. In contrast, the story of a man who relied on his own best judgment (in hope of God’s blessing) is found in Josh. 9. Note particularly verse 14 - So now, my young friends, now that you are in a position to consider both types of problem solution, may I ask you to try the second course - shall I say, for a change?