13. Are you too young?

Meditations on “God of Transformation: 13:  Are you too young?

Luke 1:31     You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus

A number of years ago I had some friends who went to Argentina to observe a great move of God that was going on there at the time. I will always remember the testimony of one of the ladies who went, probably in her mid forties. She said a small group of them were taken to see a children’s church, I presume an offshoot of the mother church where the adults worshipped. The children’s church was overseen by sixteen or seventeen year olds, who monitored a team of younger leaders who were between eleven and thirteen, I think it was, who oversaw younger leaders about eight or nine who oversaw the younger children. When the visiting party of adults arrived  they were greeted by the children, and some of the leaders cried, “Let’s pray for our visiting friends,” and so this lady found herself surrounded by four or five children, the oldest being about twelve who promptly instructed the younger children how to ask the Holy Spirit to come on the adult. The last she remembered hearing were the words, “Often when the Spirit comes you see the person’s eyes flickering,” before she went down under the power of the Spirit.

Now yes, from what I heard, those were unusual revival conditions but even so, if the Lord was doing that with those young people, isn’t that His desire for young Christian people generally?  I believe one of my most exciting times of ministry was quite a number of years ago with a youth group in Los Angeles where I had been invited to speak to this mixed group of teenagers, Christians and non-Christian. Again this may have been a time of special anointing but I can only tell what happened. After having given ‘the talk’ for about a quarter of an hour or so, one of the Youth Group leaders asked me would I be prepared to pray over any of them who wanted me to.  I agreed to this and simply addressed the group and said, “I have been speaking about the reality of knowing Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. Now it may be that there are some of you who truly do know him as that and if you like I would be prepared to pray over you and ask his blessing on you and see what he might have to say to you. If that is you would you like to step forward (they were in a big circle around the room) About half the group stepped forward.

I gulped and started working my way round the group, praying and prophesying over them all.  When I got to the end, I gave a sigh of relief but found I was getting a nudge from the Lord – “Ask if others would like the same”. I turned to the rest (and you may see my sense of unbelief) and said, “It may be that one or two of you, who don’t have that same sense of conviction might nevertheless like God’s blessing as I pray and seek His heart for you. If that’s you, would you like to step forward.” I expected two or three at the most but in fact the whole remaining group of about fifteen immediately and without hesitation stepped forward. Which is how I came to prophesy over fifteen or so non-Christian teenagers. Out of my depth did not describe it. When we finished and the meeting was breaking up two of the “non-believing” boys came up to me and as teenagers do, simply confronted me with, “How did you know all about us when you prayed over us? Who told you about us?”  God is good.

Now I say all this because the story of the angel coming to Mary is almost too familiar for many of us, as we have heard it so many times at Christmas, and I believe because of the romantic or sentimental feelings that go with it, we can find it difficult to take in the wonder of what is there. We have a good Jewish girl, engaged to be married but maintaining strict celibacy before the wedding, when an angel comes and says she is going to have a baby without any male human help.  She was troubled at his initial greeting and when he then goes on to explain this, she is even more confused. How can such a thing be? The basic answer is, God will enable it to happen. OK? Are you up for this?  I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” (Lk 1:38)

That was probably a unique example of the willingness of a young teenager (she could even have been as young as twelve) to step into God’s purposes and take on something that would create misunderstanding in those around her and even decimate any reputation she might have had of being a ‘good Jewish girl’.  It was a lot to ask of her, but she rose to it.

Now if you are a young person the Lord is not going to ask anything so drastic of you, but He may be calling you to serve Him. This doesn’t mean to go off to Bible College or anything like that, but it will be to give your heart to Him and make yourself available to Him. Now if that is happening to you, you need to be aware of some of the aspects of this. First of all, from this story of Mary we have a humble girl, who is not pretentious, who does not think a lot of herself but on the other hand doesn’t struggle with low self-esteem. She simply accepts (after the initial shock) that this is God on her case and she feels secure in that. There is no pride in her, in fact quite the contrary.

Second, she knows her limitations. There is no brash, “Cool, bring it on dude” sort of response in her, just this humble acceptance of God’s calling. She cannot do anything so if anything spectacular is going to happen, it’s got to be God bringing it about. He’s the one who does all the stuff, all He wants is our availability and willingness to be used, and then He will show the way ahead and provide whatever power is needed.

Third, although there are going to be misunderstandings around her, she trusts God to sort them out. Someone is going to have a serious talk with her fiancé Joseph. An angel does it in a dream.

Fourth, she knows God’s commands and lives within then which is why she is still a virgin and is thus available to God. The Lord doesn’t look for perfect people to use (because none of us are perfect) but He does look for those who take Him seriously to do His serious business.

We could probably find some more for you in Mary’s story, but I get the feeling that if you are a young(ish) person, God will already be speaking to you and you only need these little encouragements. I really believe God is looking for an army of young people in these days, young people who will stand up and say, “We will not go the way of the rest. We will go for God and take all He has to give and go with Him to do all He wants to do!” Is that you?

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