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New Pathways

Being 20-something wasn't easy but it gave new opportunities to discover faith

I was a 20-something when I rediscovered God. I was floundering in that decade when you wake up and ask, is this all there is? Did I miss something along the way?

I was an adult yet I was still struggling to finish school, find a career, and secure a life-long partnership. It was the first decade when the outsiders—parents, teachers, church leaders—pulled out and left me to struggle with my goals alone. It felt lonely and often scary.

… few of us shared with one another the fear in our hearts.

Not that I would have listened to them. I belonged to the baby-boom generation who believed that anyone over 30 was untrustworthy and didn't really have the answers. Instead we turned to each other, convinced that we could solve the problems that past generations had created. "Alienation" and "existentialism" were our buzz words. But few of us shared with one another the fear in our hearts.

How did God break through? Though I wouldn't have picked up my childhood Bible hidden away in an old memory box covered in dust, at a funeral I did accept a free copy of "Reach Out," the first version of the Living Bible.

With graphic photographs and commentary on the issues that our generation cared about, it was a fast and satisfying read. I was surprised at how Jesus' words made such sense and brought a calm within me.

Then God sent "bridge" people, those who had a foot in two generations, who could translate Christ's message to a new generation. One minute I felt that there was no one to talk to about my new spiritual excitement, and the next moment people moved into my life who could answer my questions and share my enthusiasm.

Church, hymns, and communion had lost their relevance for me over the years.

But now I felt a hunger for the "old ways"—my childhood connections with God. Choruses sung at a Christian camp, Bible stories once laid out on flannel board, words spoken over the common cup: "This is my blood shed for you—Remember me." I sought out these things anew and wept at the discovery that they were all true—not just childhood fantasies or my family's delusions.

Today my husband and I have three 20-something offspring who seem to be struggling, along with their friends, with how their childhood and teen faith in God fits into the world in which they now live. It's as if the old avenues to Jesus have been blocked and the new routes aren't well marked.

I'm thankful for the new ways that Christians are finding to reach young adults and for those bridge people to whom they can relate .

What may seem unorthodox or even sacrilegious to some might be the very thing that captures their attention. Ultimately my prayerful trust is in the God who loves them and can reach them. He alone can feed their hunger.

Gail Reid is managing editor of Faith Today and director of communications for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Faith Today, Jul/Aug 2002




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