My generation is many things. Passionate, principled (if we believe in principles at all), ready to buck societal norms to pursue justice, reconciliation, and healing. But are we resilient? Am I resilient? Is that even something we value? Strong enough for the fight
Our society, by and large, has rejected hate speech, bullying, and being generally mean. We make our spaces safe for children, and teach them to be cautious. We are very considerate of other people’s sensitivities and create things like MPAA ratings and trigger warnings, so that they can know in advance that they might see or hear something distressing. Somehow, even Christians have come to believe that no one should make you feel bad about yourself, or that when life is hard, that means somehow something has gone wrong.
But that’s not real life. In real life, we are fighting to survive starting at conception. We fight to push back the cold nights, to keep the wild animals away, and to push the darkness far away from our homes. Some people are closer to frontlines of the fight than others. Some people know that life is not on their side. Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about living, knowing that life isn’t a guarantee.
Sometimes, as a middle-class person raised in a good family, I can forget about the fight. But I also forget that God made me strong enough to survive in a fight. Even in an air conditioned home, in an insulated and well-behaved community, in my day to day routine of driving in a car that’s made to protect me at high speeds, buying food at a store conveniently located within easy walking distance, and sleeping on a real bed, I hear murmurs of the fight outside. I hear about oil spills, plastic islands, and chemical weapons in the ocean. Famines, storms, and wildfires above.
My generation knows that the fight for survival is on a new front. Now we must fight to save the oceans, the soil, the animals, and the very air we breathe.
We know that it will be a fight, but many of us don’t know we are made innovative, adaptable, compassionate, and strong enough for the fight.
We need to know that we can survive. That we can be resilient. We need to know that God is powerful enough to bring us through this moment of crisis. This is why God told the Israelites to tell their children how He brought them out of Egypt – we need to hear the stories of God’s faithfulness. We need the stories and we need the struggles to show us that we’ve been strong this whole time, because God made us that way.