While working on the story, I saw how four generations viewed faith differently. My grandmother thought “God helps those who help themselves.” Grandma knew she would have to leave Switzerland if she wanted a better life. So she set out on her own. She made her way in the world through fierce determination and hard work. She carried her faith with her, like a shield. Grandma’s faith reminds me of Joshua crossing the Jordan River and fighting to claim the Promised Land.
My mother’s generation was shaped by the Great Depression and World War II. Like my grandmother, she worked hard. She volunteered to help whenever and wherever she could. She was never idle. Watching them gave me an early mistaken view that salvation is earned through good works. Mom’s faith reminds me of the book of James. “Faith that does not result in good deeds is useless.” Good deeds are the out-pouring of a grateful heart.
My generation was shaped by the Cold War and turbulent 60s when many thought God was dead, or He didn’t care what was happening in the world. I fell away from faith when I went away to college. Like many others, later in life I cried out, “God, help me.” I connect with the Psalms of David. He committed grievous sins, and surrendered all to God.
My daughter’s generation seems polarized. With prayer cast out of schools and our country’s history being revised, many know nothing of Jesus or what Christianity really is. Some are atheists or agnostics, or experimenting with false religions while a precious few have strong, fervent faith in Christ Jesus and going out on missions to serve God and spread the Gospel. They remind me of the Apostle Paul going out on his missionary journeys.
Things to ponder:
Which generation best describes how you view faith in Jesus?