H is for Hope – FAITH Series

August 27, 2010

If there is one vital ingredient the Christian culture fails to instill in kids, it is hope. You don’t have to look very far to see that we live in a world devoid of hope. From the violent streets in our urban centers, to the staggering number of children abandoned and orphaned, to the increasing number of at-risk behaviors among young people—the hopelessness quotient is spiraling out of control.

But as parents, equipped by the truth of God’s Word, we can reverse the tide by instilling solid, truth-based hope in our children.

I think Christian parents are often so focused on righting wrong behaviors, discipline and teaching, that we forget to give our kids a healthy dose of confidence, so they can face the world without fear. Sadly, there are many kids who grew up in good Christian homes, who look around and have no hope.

I believe the most important thing a parent can do for their children is to believe in them. Not in an irrational, flattering sort of way, but to cheer them on in a way that lifts them up, that challenges them to reach newer and bigger heights.

Part of hope-building involves intentional identification of their God given gifts and talents, helping to polish those tools toward their God-given purpose. Kids need and want guidance.

As influencers, parents have a unique opportunity to study their children, find their strengths, and steer them toward the best opportunities for success.

Quite often I will talk to young people and I ask them, “What do you think you will be or do when you grow up?” Invariably I get some version of the expected Christian answer, “Serve the Lord” or “Do God’s Will.”

And that sounds great. In fact, that gives me a sense that a child is fully surrendered to God’s will. But it doesn’t go far enough. It makes it seem as if a child’s purpose and calling are somehow shrouded in mystery. Only Indiana Jones can find the real “center” of “God’s perfect will.”

This is where the Christian community really needs to step up. Parents, pastors, youth pastors, teachers, Grandparents, and any other influencers. You are needed to help shape young people and steer them toward their purpose.

Notice I didn’t say your purpose for them. I said “their purpose.” Every single child, who has been redeemed by the Gospel, has been restored to their original, God-given purpose.

God’s will isn’t for young people to spend their lives navel-gazing, hoping and praying God’s will smacks them on the head. No, each has a specific calling by God.

How do they find that calling? Well, its not as hard as we make it. And its up to parents to help kids make decisions based on their God-given gifts, their skill sets, their life experiences, their opportunities, and their personalities. All of those form the unique package that is them.

Guess what happens when you start to help a child identify his calling? It gives them a sense of hope. They need grown-ups to communicate their belief in them.

This is part five of a five part series of devos featured by Mark Elfstrand of The Morning Ride on WMBI 90.1 FM Chicago

I will never forget the teacher in High School who told me that I should pursue writing. Her words have helped to carry me to this day.

So parents, in your quest to instill faith, accountability, integrity, and truth in your kids, don’t forget the final ingredient. Don’t leave hope behind.