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October 1974 · Vol. 3 No. 3 · pp. 231–42 

Youth: Yesterday, Today - and Tomorrow

Calvin Hagen

O my people, listen to my teaching, open your ears to what I am saying. For I will show you lessons from our history, stories handed down to us from former generations. I will reveal these truths to you so that you can describe these glorious deeds of God to your children, and tell them about the mighty miracles He did, for He gave His laws to Israel, and commanded our fathers to teach them to their children, so that they in turn could teach their children too. Thus His laws pass down from generation to generation. In this way each generation has been able to obey His laws and to set its hope anew on God and not forget His glorious miracles. Thus they did not need to be as their fathers were—stubborn, rebellious, unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.

Psalm 78:1-8 (Living Bible)

LESSONS FROM MY HISTORY

Having parked my car in the drive after a long day and anticipating the comfort of the living room sofa after a good meal, I hurriedly made my way to the door of our modest home. I was bluntly confronted by the TV, on full blast, as my son and younger daughter were watching their favorite repeats. After gathering all patience I could possibly find within my tired body, I choked back the words, “Turn down that noise.” I proceeded to the bedroom to change into something more comfortable and, possibly, to find the quietness I was searching for. On the way I became aware of the loud music coming from the record-player of my 15-year-old daughter. Again taken aback and getting more disgusted with the lack of peace and quiet, I found that this time it was more difficult to restrain myself from losing all sanity and bursting into her room, I demanded that she respect the others within the household and turn down the volume on her record-player. After entering my room and closing the door behind me, I managed to calm down as I sat on the edge of my bed.

My thinking revolved around my childhood and how many times I had been on the “other side.” After much deliberation I realized that all generations, despite superficial and over-reported differences, are actually very much the same. I am much the same as my father, and today’s youth are very much the same as the youth of my generation. The faces change, the music is different, but the growing up is the same. If we as adults would only have the presence of mind to understand our children through ourselves, we could learn from them and open our lives to vast new horizons. It is not too difficult to understand through comparison. It has not been so many years ago that we were young. We cannot have forgotten our youthful joys and frustrations.

Only yesterday, in the solitude of my room, my radio was blasting out the popular rock and roll tunes of the day. I was completely content with the unique world which I had built around myself as I {232} searched my imagination for what I would have considered my true identity, an identity completely unlike any other person’s and not imposed upon me by adults. There was one threat, known through experience, that was near enough to destroy this little world. Any moment, just as though it was part of a drama, my father would burst into my room demanding that I turn off the very inspiration that was spurring me on to what I considered realism, My Radio. “Turn off that – – – – racket, I just don’t understand what you kids get out of that noise.” My bubble was popped and, temporarily, so were my dreams. I may have reluctantly gone through the motions of turning off the radio, but the real thing I turned off was my father.

With the radio off, I would be given a list of tasks to do. Mother would try to explain, “Son, we give these responsibilities to you so you can learn to turn your labor into fruit.” The harsher ways of my father were much easier to take. They were less embarrassing and over a lot quicker.

I refused to be produced out of the same stuffy material as the adult generation before me. I was not content to be part of the society that was satisfied to be stamped out in little boxes which look very much the same. I was standing aside and observing all the

“little boxes on the hillside and little boxes in the valley; they are all made out of tacky tacky, and they all look just the same. There are red ones, there are green ones, there are yellow ones, there are purple ones, and they are all made out of tacky tacky, and they all look just the same. . . . The children go to grade school and then to the university, and they are all made out of tacky tacky, and they all look just the same.”

(From the song “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds)

I was determined to manufacture a box all my very own, not one identical to any other spurting off the assembly line of life. “Work and make something of yourself” seemed to me only to be a vicious circle that formed the merry-go-round of life that my father was riding. I was determined not to be caught up in the insane motion of a philosophy of life in which “fruit” meant only “work—work—work”!

My philosophy was to enjoy life to its maximum. It was more satisfying to participate in the creative and entertaining things of life, things that could build my character in competition, boost my ego, or possibly set me up as a hero among the most important people in my life, my peers.

School sports slipped into all this very conveniently. I was recognized for what I could achieve and accomplish as a star. Even though I became a part of the team, I was still recognized as an individual. I could achieve with the help of others, along with others, and also help others to achieve.

The night of the big game arrived, and I played my best game of the season. As usual, Dad didn’t show up for the game. He was probably too busy. But who really cares; I was adjusted to the emptiness. We won without his presence, and I would never tell him that I was high point man. He wouldn’t be interested and would only have a snide remark as to why I didn’t pursue my work at home with {233} the same enthusiasm. If he would have come, I would have had to go home with him. It would be out of the question to let me stay and participate in the post-game activities.

The basketballs were put in their proper places. The gym lights are turned down low. The record players are ready and the “Sock Hop” is on. Just look at all the girls in their fresh, pretty, knee-length dresses all properly supported by the popular can-can slips, their white bobby socks neatly tucked just under the knees, and their black and white saddle oxford shoes taken off for the moment. There are the guys all decked out in their best pants, white shirts, and ties—all ready to charm that favorite girl. The music begins and its rhythm and lyrics call for the bunny hop. All shyness recedes as I hurriedly pick my partner for this dance, because we can’t miss any steps of our favorite tune. The next record will play a fox trot, or perhaps the cha-cha-cha. It could even be a waltz.

As the evening wears on and the hour is getting late, I realize that soon this too must end. As I am driving home contemplating the enjoyment of the entire evening, my happiness is interrupted when I enter the gate to my father’s farm. Now anxiety suppresses all memories of the delightful evening I have just experienced. I have known this feeling before. I know what to expect as I enter through the kitchen door. A barrage of demands flood the room. “Where have you been? I told you to be home at ten. We are going to take your car away if you can’t show more dependability.” Now the long lecture on dancing and how it is a product of the devil’s workshop and how I cannot be trusted, especially if I am dating those “worldly girls.” The movie theater, bowling, pool and teen town activities enter into the lecture, just in case they are in my plans for the next evening. Nothing is said about smoking or tasting an occasional beer. I have survived the agony of that lecture for the moment. My attitude was: “What can you expect from an ultra-conservative generation who were taught that anything other than a church hymn is sin?”

FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION

Every generation reacts, counter-reacts, and adjusts because of its experience with the previous generation. Youth is a naturally rebellious state, and so the young advocate changes. The magnitude of the change depends on how deeply the scar from the past has been imprinted on their young minds and how strongly their inward prejudices have built up in response. Sometimes the change takes place naturally by a process of building. And then the change is slight. At other times there is an about-face, and the young rediscover the practice or belief of an earlier generation. But when inward feelings build up to a maximum degree, then change is forced and there is rebellion. Then change is no longer natural but demonstrations and riots are used to impose premature change upon society. The respective generations immediately feel threatened by one another. They respond to each other in defense of their respective beliefs, instead of together responding to the situation as it is, taking the good from each point of view and building from it. Sometimes the {234} adult generation, with its cunning and experience and superior reasoning, wins out, and the new idea is pushed back. Or again, by persistence, the youth may force the adult generation to give in for the sake of co-existence.

In the effort to co-exist, adult generations tend to relax their attitudes towards what they have been taught to be right and wrong. They overadjust in an effort to protect the young against the hurt that surfaces through the differences in opinions exposed in the competition of the generations. In an attempt to avoid hurt, they take on a more permissive attitude in lieu of the checks, and balances, that are necessary to teach and train the real truths as adults have learned them. All of these kinds of change can be illustrated many times over.

“NATURAL” CHANGES

My father had to work hard just to survive from day to day. He had to feed and clothe his family when neither food nor clothes were plentiful or easy to obtain. Although I reacted against this pattern of life of hard work, I adopted it anyway because I developed a desire for goods, the material things that my father could not give me. My children fail to see any real value in this foolish toil. They have all their needs filled from the results of my hard-working efforts. Their reaction is that they are more concerned with being someone than with having something. They are not interested in the monetary aspects of my life-style at all.

Although financial gain is the least of their concerns, today’s young people are very concerned about one another. They accept one another and are eager to help each other. They are less prejudiced against others and less obsessed with status symbols. The philosophy that “I am better than you because I am rich, white, and free” has receded. The new life-style seems to be more like the old, slow, easy, help-one-another attitude of our great-grandfathers, when people helped people just for the sake of helping them, not expecting or in any way demanding a return of the favor or any kind of pay. Evidently the pendulum is swinging back.

There is also a negative side to these changes. Many children have grown up with the disadvantage of too many advantages. They have not discovered what it really means to depend on God to supply their daily needs. Our generation has taken the place of God. We are supplying needs as we scoff at them for their attitude that man is self-sufficient. It is we who are guilty of instilling this thought in their minds. They have never had the privilege of going hungry. Present trends indicate that this “privilege” might come again. Our grandchildren may again have to work hard to survive from day to day.

We are in an over-protective, over-permissive, phase in America today. Lots of love is not sufficient to train the child. He needs the opportunity to confront various problems when he is young and to learn to cope with them. If adults intervene prematurely, they may prevent the young person from developing tolerance for problems and acquiring problem-solving mechanisms. Although adults should {235} intervene when the young person is floundering, they should not do all the coping for the child. If we do not think that our young people can handle the job that we have taught them to do, the reason is that we are constantly doing it for them. Growing children must confront problems and tasks so that they will be able to solve similar problems when they are adults. This is even true of faith. We cannot send our young people into the world with our faith in God. No child can make his parents’ faith work; he must develop his very own.

But modern youth have not learned to “tough it out” when stress develops. And so, when they start to feel its pain, they turn to sexual adventures, drugs, or alcohol to escape their depression.

Here too the pendulum of change in society swings outward. But does it return again to rediscover basic truths? My father hid behind the barn and smoked crushed tree leaves wrapped in any kind of paper. I hid behind the barn and smoked the real thing. Today, our youth do not hide behind the barn. As a teen I did not consider smoking the dangerous marijuana, but today it is the “in” thing to do. Drinking of alcoholic beverages is following the same pattern. My father stored wine in the cellar for an occasional sip when so-called “illness” would arrive. I experimented with it a little further. Today open drinking is common and is a definite problem in our society.

Dope, drugs, and marijuana, however, are on a definite decline. Young people seem to be getting wise to the fact that the drugs which were supposed to expand the mind and increase a person’s hold on life can instead cause addiction, insanity, and a disintegration of personality. Youth have discovered that drugs have proved to be chains, not wings, to freedom. Studies from all over the country indicate that alcohol has again become the favorite drug for a majority of youth. They feel safer with the bottle. It is easy to acquire, legal, and the public is generally apathetic to the problem. Social drinking is an accepted part of the American way of life for a majority of the population. In fact, many parents are relieved that their children are not on hard drugs, and tend to look the other way at alcoholic indulgence. Choosing the lesser of the two evils, it is comforting to know that hard drugs are on a decline among our youth. The reasons do not seem so important at the moment.

From hymns to the Hit Parade to hard rock. From aspirin to tranquilizers to hard drugs. From full skirts to short dresses to bikinis to nudity. From “sex is sin” to “sex is shameful” to “sex is really not all that bad” to “free love.” As adults we do not necessarily condone what we once did on the sly, and we do not condone all that is now done openly or almost openly. We know that many in our circles are taking part in activities against which there are still written rules. But we do not discuss this freely with one another. And so we have become the greatest cover-up generation—seeking to protect what we were taught to believe while secretly compromising until our old morals are gone.

As the young generation moves about in search of whatever it is they might be looking for, some revert to trying organized living. {236} They form their own little communities, set up a crude government, and share with one another all their earthly possessions. Visiting a commune situated in the Rockies, I found evidence that the inhabitants are sponging on the society that they are “copping out on.” And yet, what they are instituting looks much like the strict discipline of earlier generations. Perhaps the pendulum is swinging back again and they are rediscovering basic truths of life.

In this particular commune, the woman has taken on a submissive role. She stands behind her man; she never walks before him or speaks in his stead. When spoken to, she will not answer back. The children of the commune are kept in the background also. My appearance on the scene sent the small children scurrying inside; the older children were allowed to remain, but they were not allowed to enter into the conversation. Their presence embarrassed the male. He was apologetic about their presence and what he called “lack of discipline.” This was disproved by the fact that they didn’t dare to change posture or breathe a heavy sigh without a stern reprimand from him.

It seems that these people are attempting to return to a father-dominated family structure or, even, to the kind of dictatorship set up in early kingdoms. The presence of the superior male seems to establish this fact. What he says, no matter how right or how wrong he may be, is taken by the others as the rule. They are content to have him think for them. It cannot be determined how the government of this commune will evolve as they experiment with rules that have already been proved or disproved. They might even join society as we know it.

All young things must learn from their very own experience. No one can depend entirely on the lessons of history. Each generation must discover for itself the true facts about the life that is meant for it. A generation is capable of discovering only so much. What it discovers must be left for other generations to analyze, build on, change, or often drop completely. People must relive the experience of the past to discover its truths once again. They then understand the truth because they have experienced it, not only because a previous generation recommended it to them.

And yet it is true that a natural period of growth is necessary to reach a higher plan in life. He who gains both practical and scholastic knowledge while young will go further than one who begins at an older age. And he who would reach the heights must build on what has been accomplished before he arrives. If he attempts to begin at the beginning, because of some form of rebellion, he may never advance beyond those who preceded him.

“FORCED” CHANGES

During the sixties, we heard cries at first, as young people began to shout for “Freedom Now.” These young people soon became weary of trying to gain freedom non-violently and we began to see our cities burn. The people became afraid. They feared the young radical folk, the Harvard and Yale folk, who began to leave their schools to flock to the cities to join the poor. {237}

We began to hear cries for “Revolution,” shouts to change the system: “Let the people be free!” These young radicals were only throwing stones against tanks. Perhaps there was something happening symbolically, but there was no way to turn back the tanks. Many young people became disillusioned by the false promises of revolution. Many were on the “trip” because it was popular. These began to scatter as law and order swept in and began to crush them. But many went to jail as “political criminals” because they wanted to end an oppressive system and were not sure how to do it.

Those of us who cheer the end of the youth revolt must caution ourselves that the movement contained vital elements of rebellion against real flaws in America and her government. At one time, suppressed by their adult generation, young people could see nothing for themselves except the same, dull, patterned existence which previous generations had established. Discontented with the prospects of these patterns and disillusioned with the double standard they saw operating in American society, youth rebelled. In this rebellion, they attacked the established hierarchies of authority, bringing immorality out into the open, and then seeking an escape through drugs when the reality of what they had created hit their rational minds and they didn’t know where to go from there.

America’s concerned and disaffected young people of the sixties desperately needed guidance and enlightenment from a solid, steady adult intellectual leadership. Instead they found themselves being manipulated by crafty, intellectual and commercial exploiters. The mass media and Madison Avenue swept in and co-opted the very symbols of revolution and made their usual millions from what was to have been revolutionary. They were able to capitalize, take advantage, and put money in their pockets. The disheartening result is that this young movement, revolutionary as it was, turned into a cult that was to dominate the nation’s politics for not quite a decade. These young leaders, whether they were right or wrong, had no idea what they were dealing with in the twentieth century when they used the word “revolution.”

One of the more intriguing questions about youth today is why the highly-touted revolt of the sixties became exhausted so quickly. Did it simply die or did it end with the quieting of the Vietnam War and the end of the draft? I believe that it was much deeper than this, deeper even than the fact that the ugly violence at the fringes of the movement literally shocked the majority of the protestors.

At the height of the revolt, the small minority of young people who saw themselves as revolutionaries made themselves heard and seen far out of proportion to their numbers, but the truth is that the movement never enjoyed mass support. The romantic notion of a generation gap that presumably placed youth on the side of brave new worlds, while the over-thirties were responsible for the evil ways of the past, was a piece of self-deluding fiction. The young leaders of this cult could not break away from the materialism they supposedly detested. A real basis for a revolutionary movement did not exist. Rebellion against the establishment and striking out into their own detached world only weakened those who participated. It did not take {238} them to a new and better world as it had promised. Revolution was supposed to bring in a new social order, but it only caused useless disruptions, destruction, and needless loss of life. These were the things that they could not see when they began to shout “revolution.”

But there are other, more personal, ways to revolt against “the system.” Grasping at every opportunity to experience life at its fullest and facing a complex and chaotic world, young people changed tremendously their attitudes toward work, school, and marriage. Today, if a young person decides that he would like to continue his education, he does so at his own pace, in his own time, and in his own manner. He avoids settling down in order to see as much as possible and to mix with other people as much as possible. He has an unquenchable appetite for traveling. More negatively, traveling is an escape for many young people, a way to forget a broken heart or an upcoming decision. It is a good buffer between leaving school and entering the real world, where they are forced to make their own decisions and stand up to be counted.

In any case, the activism and radicalism of the 1960’s appear to be virtually dead. Youth still feel deeply about public issues, but there are few, if any, who believe that a campus is the place to change the system.

Although public debates about Watergate drew large crowds, no one suggested a campus demonstration to protest the scandal. Some say that this change can be interpreted as a sign of apathy, but today’s youth of the seventies more likely will call it realism. Violence as a form of protest seems almost “prehistoric.”

Now we have entered the seventies. We have entered them with different kinds of sounds. They are more frightening sounds of silence. Those who are close to the sounds are becoming more disturbed by the silence of the seventies than the noise of the sixties. In some respects, it is relaxing to be relieved of the tension that the noise produced. But often the sounds of silence appear to be sounds of apathy, the sounds of defeat, the sounds of scepticism and despair.

On the surface, there seems to be a recycling of a previous philosophy of life. What we as adults traditionally held as standards of success, security and emotional stability are returning to the scene. There is evidence of a far more serious approach to work, education, and material success. But it is hard to know whether this improvement will be for the better or for the worse. Although this is more in line with adult thinking, no one can visualize what the future will bring, and I cannot help but think that once again the adult generation has succeeded in suppressing its youth. We have not been open in listening to their ideas and suggestions. By pushing them into the woodwork, we can relax in the comfort of our thinking and return to doing things as we have always done them without being continually challenged by new “insane” ideas that place us on guard and make us defend a system that we have held to be sacred.

THE “SPIRITUAL” RESULTS

Because of what we have been through we are a people that hurt, and we have no one to turn to but ourselves. We are the ones who {239} created this hurt and we have no one else to blame. I am convinced that we cannot raise our children in this kind of environment. We cannot teach them to hold their feelings in, to be always on guard and look good. We cannot isolate them from the hurt of the people around them and tell them, “No, you can’t really feel that bad.” Regardless of what we tell them, they are going to hurt right along with us. It is natural for them to search for a way to get away from all this hurt. So they flip a pill down their throats to quench the hurt. Suddenly they find that this method doesn’t work because after the trip the hurt remains. So now they decide to quit flipping pills and to “trip out” on Jesus for awhile. I say watch out for those young people who left drugs a couple of years ago to trip out on Jesus. They are going to be the angriest group of young people in the world. They will see this as just another drug. They are going to be angry with Jesus and with you. We are seeing some of them already. How they react and what they turn to is part of the silence. We do not really know what will happen. We can only sit by and speculate.

Although some have gained a true knowledge of the Person of Jesus Christ, others are along for the ride and after it is all over they will blow along to whatever is new and popular. The search for a spiritual base of their own is leading young people in many directions. This interest is manifested in spiritualism, witchcraft, extrasensory perception, astrology, and the growing popularity of Far Eastern religions. Their participation in institutional religion is on a decline. A growing interest in the occult has been replacing it since the late sixties. It was during this time of youth’s rejection of authority that the basis was laid for a quest for a new authority. Many occult groups impose strict demands on their followers, and this fills the need for this authority. Occultists are in search of transcendent experience. After centuries of neglect, the Prince of Unclean Spirits has emerged from the shadows. This eruption of unease about what evil is and how it works should not really be a surprise to a generation that is still digesting the experience of Hitler and Stalin and now is asked to cope with an anonymous army of terrorists, kidnappers, and mad bombers. Satan is popular again. He is still suggesting that it is all right to eat the fruit of the tree. And it seems that He is gaining ground. In my estimation this is the most frightening sound of the seventies.

Through all this frustration and despair there seems to be a brighter side. Although this brighter side seems to be only a tiny spark in the midst of a bundle of wet wood, God is faithful. Ministers, scholars, and teachers advocated that “God is dead.” They said “Don’t believe the Bible, don’t expect God to help you with your problems. He is only imagination in the minds of the poor and weak. He is only a crutch for those who cannot face the reality of life as it is.” But Jesus has counteracted these lies and is revealing the truths to our youth. He is showing them that the truth is: God is not dead; the people are dead. He is challenging them to do what the majority of the adult generation is afraid to do, to get out and share with others what Christ has done in their lives. {240}

THE GLORIOUS DEEDS OF GOD

In the time of Moses there was also a new day and a new life for the young. The older generation of Israelites would not enter into the Promised Land because they were afraid. They feared the future. They did not believe in God’s promise to give them victory in battle. They chose to believe in fear. They murmured against God. Because of the failure of the older generation to possess the land, God raised up a new generation of youth and gave to them the promise their fathers would not inherit. The new generation, in new life, went forth in one accord to possess the Promised Land.

In another day the children of Israel were looking for a new life. They were looking for a king who would come in a display of power and glory to defeat all their enemies. They completely missed their Messiah, because they were not looking for their mighty King to come to them as a baby in a manger, as a young person. And all through Christ’s life and ministry, they rejected their King and finally put Him to a shameful death by asking Him to bear their cross at Calvary.

What seemed to be an end was only a beginning to new life. By the death of this revolutionary, all sin was forgiven to those who would accept this death and new life. This new life was given to the Lord’s disciples. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended as a mighty rushing wind with tongues of fire. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, God’s anointing power came to the disciples and created a new day.

A new life for the Gentiles was also brought into this movement of God. Shortly after Pentecost, God led Peter by the Holy Spirit to go to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile. God told Peter that he was doing a new thing. Peter was no longer to consider the Gentiles to be outside the plan of God. This barrier was broken by the death on Calvary. Now the Gentiles could partake fully of salvation, and the world was integrated. Now you and I are included in the wonderful plan of God.

This truth has been passed down from generation to generation. But we have also passed down the sins of men. Due to this we are psychically committed, perhaps condemned, to stay within ourselves. While many can change the externals of their lives in a minute, few, if any, can change their tastes, affections, enthusiasms, vanities, and prejudices—change themselves—even if they tried. The result is that young people are basically like their teachers. Like us, they are stubborn, rebellious, unfaithful, and cannot change themselves even if they try. Only by simple faith, uncomplicated, unsophisticated, and unconditional, can each of us, young or old, be used by God in His master plan in making men whole.

As in all times, God is now searching for those who will participate in His great plan. Our generation has been ordained to accomplish a part of His work. In order for young men and women to participate in God’s plan, He is offering these young people a new life, the same new life He offered to the world through the birth, death, and {241} resurrection of His Son. God has heard the prayers of many people who have faithfully called upon His name to deliver our young people from the barren promises of Satan. All over the world young people are turning to God for deliverance from hopelessness and sin. They are using this opportunity to choose God’s way of life: salvation through the cleansing of sin by the Blood of Jesus. This is the only great hope for our world, which is sinking fast into a marsh of iniquity, filth, and despair.

God’s plan is to draw out a community of people who love and trust Him. Today Jesus is calling and separating unto Himself these people. He is calling out the young to Himself as a unique people, as persons with a new life and a new self, closer to the wholeness that God originally intended man to have. He will have a people who will be entirely His, who will feast at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Each age group with its particular contributions needs the other to complete the new man. There is a great deal of prejudice to be overcome, a good deal of darkness to be illuminated. Sacrifices must be made by both young and old and springs of charity unsealed before we can achieve the wholeness of mankind. Yet there can be no doubt that it is towards this experience of wholeness that the Spirit of God is gently but remorselessly driving us all. Any step we take towards it is a step in the right direction. There is neither time or room enough in this cramped and limited life for anything less than striving towards this goal.

We are called by God Himself to live as strangers and pilgrims in this evil and imperfect world. The uncertainty of what that call requires of us must not lead us to look upon life as no more than a tiresome interlude or to cause us to completely fix our minds upon the heavenly vision that we fail to see and respond to the needs all around us. It is the man who is not certain of God, of the vastness of His patience and the reality of His eternity, who grows cynical and loses all hope. We take too much on ourselves when we refuse to believe in the ages to come. This little life can’t matter very much; souls are more important than bodies. Whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. Saint Paul could never have been more right when he wrote: “If our faith in Christ were limited to this life only, we should of all mankind be the most pitiable.” But our hope in Christ is not confined to this life. We dare not limit His work to this little temporary stage.

Behind all our strivings and prayers there lies the unchanging purpose of God. Behind all our imperfections lies His perfection. We can see His work of making men whole begun but we can’t see its completion. We can see His Kingdom growing in size and strength today, but we can’t see it universally established. Although we can see these workings we do not know the ultimate purpose of God. The most we can do here on earth is to see and to know only in part. But we can see the working in time and space of a vast plan the roots of which are in eternity. It is something far greater, more far-reaching, {242} more noble, more generous that most of our forefathers could imagine. We cannot shut our eyes to the length and depth of that purpose. The most satisfying thing we can do is to ask to be allowed to co-operate with God’s infinite patience in His purpose of making men whole.

I believe that we are living in a new day. God is doing a new thing among our youth. He is performing miracles that adults have not allowed in their lives. Youth is striving to follow the example of the early disciples, men who were willing to turn the world upside down. Youth is once again willing to turn the world upside down through the revolutionary Jesus.

Thank God for the brightest future yet. Thank Him for His promise to all generations. And most of all, thank God for challenging our young people to again rediscover these truths for themselves and for helping others to realize once again the importance of the real purpose and plan of God for His people.

(Note: The newsletter Youth Today by James Reapsome has stimulated my thinking and may be of interest to readers.)

Mr. Hagen, a Denver builder and contractor, has been active in Southern District and U.S. Area Conference Youth Work.

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