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Following In Their Footsteps

“When children seem so naughty

And all their faults I see,

I have a dim suspicion

That they’re reflecting me.”

With these thoughts in mind, I would like to write an article on the subject chosen by the Beacon Lights Staff, entitled—“How elderly people view Pro­testant Reformed Young People”.

This topic would present no problem if I would ignore all the danger signs that confront the youth of today. It would be a simple matter to view them as just another generation that appeared on the horizon, grew into adulthood, and in due time will take their rightful place as confessing members of the Protestant Reformed Church. There is however much more to the picture than that superficial view. We see you, beloved youth, as a reflection of ourselves. We have walked that wearisome road on which you have started. We have transgressed His holy laws and have not walked that pathway in uprightness as we were taught to do. It reminds me of my departed friend and pastor, who asked me, how I would like to have my life reflected on the screen for all the church to see. My beloved youth, that is how God sees you and me. Not one deed or thought is hidden from His soul search­ing eye. Bear with me then, if I put in print how we really see you as covenant youth and that from infancy on.

We travel back in time to the Sunday morning when your parents with joyful hearts presented you to the Lord and the church for baptism. And we view this with tears of joy in our hearts. The beautiful gospel words of Acts 2:39 are being fulfilled before our eyes. “For the promise is unto you and your children and as many as the Lord our God shall call”. We see you as your parents fold your hands at the supper table and teach you the meal time prayer. And in the evening at your bedside as you pray the Lord to watch over you during the night. Is that still your prayer, young people? Remember, He who gives you sleep must also awaken you again.

How it thrills our hearts with joy when we see you as covenant youth entering the Christian schools, and from kindergarten on, we watch you climb the grades receiving instruction based on the Word of God. We rejoice with you and your parents as we watch you finish high school. Now you are ready to tackle the world round about you. Oh yes, we know. We have been there. You are our reflection, believe me. The time was fast approaching when we became smarter, and our parents knew less and less. And grandparents were to be tolerated, because they lived in the ancient past. As one young man remarked, the only thing good about the good old days was that we were young. Covenant youth, may we point you to the instruction given you in Holy Scripture where Solomon in Pro­verbs 1 admonishes you to “hear the instruction of thy father and forsake not the law of thy mother.” Your education is not finished when you receive your diploma. It is barely started. It is the kindergarten of your life. For now we begin to view you with anxious hearts. You are like the eaglet that leaves the nest high in the tree tops. He does not know the dangers that await his landing. He soon realizes life is not what it seemed from that lofty height. It is much more comfortable to be fed, clothed, sheltered and educated, surrounded by Christian parents and teachers. Yes, covenant youth, we were there also.

We continue to watch you with loving care as you are being catechized in the doctrine so precious unto us, which together with the preaching of the Word of God prepares you for the battle which lies ahead. For beloved youth, you have not even begun to fight. You are still walking in the sunshine. There is not a cloud in the sky. Everything comes up roses. So you come before the consistory, asking permission to make confession of faith. Soon you stand before the church and in the sight of God, confess publicly that you love God and the doctrine taught in this Christian Church. If ever there is joy in the hearts of the elderly people of your church and ours, this is the moment. Our eyes sparkle just a little brighter, because we see God’s covenant promise being fulfilled.

But, beloved, we keep on watching, for now the battle between the church and the world has been joined by you. From here on in, you must fight and this fight is to the end of your days. You see, youth of Christ, you now have joined hands with us. You in your strength of youth and we as veterans of the battle field, together must maintain and uphold the doctrine we both love, and take care that no enemy from within shall corrupt and destroy it. You have been taught from early youth to pray; and be assured that while prayer is always necessary, at this stage of your life and until the battle is won, your prayers must increase. The older you get, the more you need God’s help. Satan takes no holidays. You will find this out, when you begin to search for your life’s mate. Our eyes are much more upon you now, for we went thru this stage also and we know the temptations that lie ahead. We watch with the eyes of love as you date girls and boys of different denominations. Prayerfully we ask the Lord to keep you faithful to your confession. Remember, oh happy and joyful youth, if you are not faithful to the covenant God to whom you make the confession, how can you expect to be faithful to your life’s partner. Be not discouraged. He knows how to give good gifts to His children. If you are dating, plead with her to join in worshipping in the church of your confession. And then pray for God’s blessing upon you both. We, the elderly, have seen many beautiful children of God become members of our churches. Some of them, in their Christian walk, have put us old timers to shame. Let there be no boasting on our part. We have received this gift of doctrine in our sinful earthen vessel. God must have all the glory, otherwise He may withdraw His favor from us, as He has done so often in the past, when the church of Christ departed from the truth.

Beloved youth, we view you as standard bearers of the truth. When our eyes grow dim and our feet grow feeble, then we know that you will continue to fight the good fight of faith. We see you then as deacons, elders and pastors watching over the flock, singing together with the saints the songs of Zion. Praying that many may come from other churches and join hands with us in praising and glorifying the God of our salvation, we view you as precious jewels, redeemed by the blood of Christ, unto eternal life.