|(Which, by the way, is God's desire as well.) So why do many young people assume that their loving Creator is silent or indifferent about the intimate details of their lives?|
Before I share a theory, let's look at John 11. You know the story. Jesus arrives four days after His friend Lazarus has died. Amid a crowd of mourners, Christ is escorted to the tomb, where He proceeds to raise Lazarus from the dead. An awesome moment. But it's easy to get so fixated on the big miracle that we overlook a lesser one in verse 39: Jesus tells the people to take away the stone.
Why? Why didn't He just move it Himself? After all, the Son of God was about to raise a man from the dead. That would've been a killer opening act! Picture it: Jesus extends His hand and the stone obliges. The crowd's mouths drop open like cheap suitcases. Once He has their full attention, He calls Lazarus out.
We know He could have done it. Jesus had already proved His dominion over the elements. He walked on water. With a word He calmed the wind and waves. Moving a rock 10 feet would've been a snap. So why didn't He do it?
Could it be that He was trying to keep a low profile? I doubt it. This wasn't the wedding feast at Cana where, before turning water into wine, Jesus told His mother, "My time has not yet come." By now His time had definitely come. In fact, the resurrection of Lazarus alone sent a gaggle of tattletales scrambling to the Pharisees, which spawned the murderous plot against Him. Could moving the stone have made things any worse? Clearly, Christ wasn't trying to be covert.
The Bible doesn't say exactly why Jesus chose to involve people in the process of raising Lazarus. But the fact that He did is significant. I believe the Lord was saying, in essence, "Cooperate with me. You move the obstacle; I'll perform the miracle." There are times when He says that to us today. God may want to do something amazing in our lives, or reveal Himself in a special way that requires an act of faith or obedience on our part to open the door. He wants us to move a stone.
Could He do it all supernaturally? Sure, but He chooses to involve us in the process. The Scriptures are full of examples. In 2 Kings 5, Elisha told Naaman to dunk in the Jordan River seven times to be cured of leprosy. And Joshua had to march around Jericho repeatedly—looking rather foolish—before God handed the city over to him (Jos. 6:1-20).
So how does all of this apply to teens waiting for God to speak or work in their lives? I'm convinced one reason teens aren't hearing from God the way they want to is that He's being drowned out by electronic media. It's not just that the volume is turned up too loud; it's the sheer amount of hi-tech noise consuming adolescents' attention. That includes entertainment that contradicts God's Word. How can we expect to hear His "still, small voice" amid the cacophony of culture? The din has become, like the stone, an obstacle.
Teens will find that there's a price involved in removing it. They'll need to give up some of their precious noise. It could mean turning off the iPod, letting the TV or computer go dark, silencing a video game, or limiting their availability to take cell calls and text messages. It's a sacrifice. But as King David declared in 2 Samuel 24:18-25, the only true sacrifice is one that costs us something.
The Lord is as interested as ever in revealing Himself to young people. In using them. In giving them direction. If your teen wonders why God feels distant, it might be that He's waiting for them to move an obstacle so that He can do something miraculous.
Published June 2005