That They May Put Their Hope in God

That They May Put Their Hope in God

Article by Jeff Myers, Ph.D. first published in THSC REVIEW May 2014.

Let’s say you parachuted into the middle of Central Park in New York City and were told by a mysterious stranger, “There is a $5,000 diamond necklace waiting for you at Tiffany and Co. and it’s yours free on one condition: You have to claim it in the next twenty minutes, or the deal is off.”

“But what is Tiffany and Co., and how do I get there?” you ask.

“I can’t tell you,” says your anonymous source. “You’ll have to find out on your own.”

Your heart begins pounding. You feel your pocket—smart phone must have fallen out during the jump. You’ve never been in New York City before. You can’t just wander around. You have twenty minutes.

Obviously you’d ask for directions. But who do you ask? And what happens if they are wrong? You could ask more than one person, just to be sure. But what if their answers conflict?

If you want the necklace, you’ll have to figure it out before your time runs out.

Five Questions, Five World-Changing Answers

Some things about the search for the Tiffany and Co. necklace are very much like real life. People who figure out what works in life are rewarded. And there is a time limit—one out of every one person dies (you’ve probably noticed). There is a real world with real rules.

Yet confusion reigns, even among young adults raised in households of faith:

  • Only one in five young adults ages 12-22 has a sense of purpose in life.[1]
  • Twenty-five percent of young adults are at risk of not achieving productive adulthood.[2]
  • Young Christians are disengaging from their faith, embracing instead what sociologist Christian Smith calls “liberal whateverism.”[3]

Home schooling families are not immune. If our children are to stand for truth in a world of lies, they must see the Bible as more than just a guide for morality or an anesthetic to help people with a low pain tolerance get through life.

In my experience, parents who raise spiritually healthy kids show their children through instruction and lifestyle that the Bible forms answers to the five questions that every human asks:

  • Where do we come from? We are created to bear God’s image.
  • Who are we? All humans have intrinsic worth and dignity.
  • What is real and true, and how do we know? Purpose is not just contrived. God has a plan for us, and we can find it.
  • How should we live? God’s rules for life lead to a much better life than what popular culture can deliver.
  • What happens next? God’s redemption does more than just qualify us for heaven; it makes a difference in how we live now.

Hope for Your Family, Hope for the World

Psalm 78 is a psalm of hope—a hymn about gaining courage to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. It says, “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching. . . . We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.”

At the end of the day this is what home schooling is all about: giving our children hope that there is a right way to go in life—a way of wisdom, a way of life—and that those who walk in it can be a powerful source of light in a dark time.

Throughout history it was Christians who believed the biblical answers to life’s ultimate questions who established free-market economies, liberated the oppressed from tyrannical governments, elevated the status of women, built hospitals and schools, instituted ministries to the poor, and ended chattel slavery.[4]

Putting our hope in God gives us the opportunity to share hope with our children, who can then share it with the world.

 


[1] See William Damon, The Path to Purpose (New York: Free Press, 2009).
[2] Commission on Children at Risk, Hardwired to Connect: The Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities (New York: Institute for American Values, 2003).
[3] Christian Smith (2011), “Religious Tolerance: Karma, Christ, Whatever,” Huffington Post (9/16/11); Gary Railsback, Dean of the School of Education, Point Loma Nazarene University, “An investigation of the faith commitment of Evangelical college students at secular and Evangelical colleges,” found that between 30 and 50% of young adults who claim to be born again Christians as college freshmen claim to not be born again Christians when they graduate; “LifeWay Research Uncovers Reasons 18 to 22 Year Olds Drop Out of Church” found that 75% of students who were significantly involved in church in high school are no longer even attending church as twentysomethings: http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/article_main_page/0,1703,A=165949&M=200906,00.html
[4] Rodney Stark, For the Glory of God (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), 291. The entirety of Stark’s chap. 4, “God’s Justice: The Sin of Slavery,” should be carefully studied by all Christians.

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