During a recent visit to our campus, Steve Garber engaged students in a series of dialogues designed to get them thinking about the needs of the world and how God might want to use them — in some way — to make a difference.
But one of the big issues he identified was that:
Many of today’s young people have turned down the ‘barometer of their heart’ in order to deal with what they cannot make sense of.
In our info and media saturated culture — where we can get global news as it happens (right in the palm of our hands) — students are bombarded with images and realities that they struggle to know what to do with…
They see reports and images of kids being sold into the sex trade, AIDS in Africa, starvation and malnutrition, child soldiers, threats of nuclear war and on and on and on…
It’s overwhelming for me… as someone much closer to 40 than 20.
And for our students… in order to cope… many are turning down the barometer of the heart to the point where they can see all that they see — and hear all that they hear — without it knocking them for a loop.
They’re dialing back their ability to feel, because it would simply be too much if they didn’t.
And as the stories continue to flood their world… they continue to attempt to control it… which is resulting in a generation becoming numb.
No, it’s not true of all of them… but a large percentage for sure.
And can we really blame them?
How else could you expect to exist in this world with all of the atrocities that seem to daily plague our planet?
And what does it all mean in regards to God’s ability to work in the world? Doesn’t He care???
I wonder if a part of the coping — a part of the becoming “comfortably numb” — has just as much to do with not knowing how to comprehend a God that would allow such brutality and pain to exist, as it is them attempting to deal with the raw emotion of seeing story after story after story of some of the worst in our world.
Learning to understand all of the pain and hardship in the world is one thing… but trying to figure out how an all-powerful and all-loving God could allow it to happen (and continue to happen) is something totally different.
So I wonder…
How do we respond as people who have been called to walk with students?
How do we model for our students a way of living and being in this world that acknowledges the pain and suffering that exists, while still believing in the power and love of God?
How can we encourage (or challenge) our students who might believe that “comfortably numb” is an OK way to exist?