Seeking New Pastures

A House Is Not Always A Home 

For those of us fortunate enough to live in a house – it doesn’t necessarily mean we live in a home, and this is the reality for most teens when they reflect on their home environments. Amidst the chaos and frustration of a household with bantering parents or even the silence of one with a full-time working parent, it is common to feel… displaced, lost and pulled in all different directions. It’s true to say that a person’s identity is formed from such a young age by those closest to them, so what happens when the people who are put in charge of nurturing us tend to stray from their responsibilities? From kids who’ve had to make new friends 6 times in 7 years, the kids who have two Christmases and birthdays, to the ones who have only been able to call for ‘mum’ their whole lives, this lack of stability is bound to cause a shift in how we perceive ourselves in our quest to discover stability in our identity. 

As someone who is of mixed heritage, I’ve felt from a young age the effect of being plopped in between a Western world and a traditional Batak Indonesian family had on my identity. While I  cannot deny the unconditional love I’ve received from my mother’s side of the family, there were many instances in my childhood when living and visiting Indonesia when I felt like nothing but a foreigner. The desire to be fully accepted and be able to proudly claim this heritage drove me to seek more knowledge about my culture, in hopes that those around me could see my sincerity and finally perceive me as one of their own. 

But the more I dwelled on it, the more lost and disoriented I became. It seemed as though the more I gave in to my desire to fit into the mould of what I thought would grant me acceptance and a stable identity, the more ‘foreign’ I felt, and the finish line only became more distant. As feelings of rejection grew, I realised that I was seeking acceptance and belonging from the wrong people. 

We Belong to God 

Rejection by those closest to us or by those who have known us for a long time is a painful experience that evokes sharp emotions, such as anger, outrage, self-pity, and sadness. More people have experienced this type of rejection than we might think. Jesus knew what it was like to be rejected in this way.  The scriptures tell us many times that Jesus too felt this way, even amongst his own people he was rejected, mocked and felt displaced. John 1:11, 

“He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.” 

But even in all His affliction and loneliness after feeling rejected Jesus still remained faithful to God as he knew he was a part of a family far greater and personal than any family or community that we can experience on this earth.  Ephesians 2:19 states,  

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” 

 Paul in this verse, emphasises the idea that as believers, we belong to the household of God and are part of a larger community of faith.  That as believers, we all belong to one community in Christ, regardless of our race, social status, or gender. Stating that,

“ There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  (Galatians 3:28 )

God reminds us that “we are his people” ( Psalm 100:3) and it is he who made us, and we belong to him, assuring us that in times that we feel as though we do not belong, we belong to him and are the “sheep of his pasture”. Our identity is in him and that we belong to God. 

So even when we feel like family doesn’t feel like family, or when we even feel disconnected, rejected and feel a lost sense of belonging and identity, the Bible teaches that as believers, we belong to God’s family and are part of a larger community of faith. This sense of belonging is grounded in our relationship with Jesus Christ, who brings us into a new family and gives us a new identity as his followers.

Just remember that there is a greater community around you, God’s community, as we are his chosen people and we belong to him. If you’re searching for the same community come and visit us at the Regeneration Z convention 

Reginella Lapenna (18) is one of the many writers in the RE Generation-Z community. She aspires to use her talents to serve God, growing and bringing others to the light of Christ. You’ll often find her in the kitchen cooking, eating and hoping to be the next Wolfgang Puck.

Flight of the Sparrow

The Butterfly Effect 

Twilight would never have happened without 9/11. 

Woah, let’s rewind here. These are two completely separate events, independent of each other… right? After witnessing the 9/11 attack in NY, singer Gerard Way was inspired to start the rock band My Chemical Romance. Their music inspired the publication of a romance novel which in turn inspired Stephanie Meyer to write a fanfiction novel which was later named ‘Twilight’. Now, once dissected into parts, each inspirational event does not seem so odd or far reaching but no one could have predicted that such a traumatising event could eventually be the reason that 13yo girls around the world would be drooling over a sparkling vampire. 

Now it’s not to say that terrible things must happen for something else to come into being but it is one way that God directs our lives. Oftentimes, when we are exposed to the atrocities of the world, we forget that it all happens within the sovereignty of God and we tend to get lost in the microcosms of our own problems to see the plans that have been set into motion for us. 

The Insignificant Sparrow 

According to the WorldOMeter, the population of the world has recently reached 8 billion people. To put it into perspective, amidst the vast expanse of the universe, our planet is only a very, very … very small piece of a puzzle and so it often becomes difficult to believe that each and every one of those 8 billion people may hold enough significance to be a part of something larger. It is only through understanding the power of God’s providence that we can fully comprehend the care and attention that He gives to each and every one of us. But how is it possible that such a large and everlasting God finds the time to devote himself to all of us? 

Luke 12:6 emphasises God’s devotion to the least of His creation and so reminds Christians of our value before Him, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God … don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” As teenagers, it is fair to say that we are notorious for being quick to diminish our own value. To  put ourselves on the sidelines because what help could we possibly be? But the Word reveals the significance of each and every one of us in His providence. R.C Sproul explains providence as “everything happening for a reason, both the big things and the small things, both good and evil.” 

But even as He plans all things, good and bad, how does this manifest in my life? It’s not likely that we’ll take part in a world altering event or replicate the success of a certain vampire saga. God’s plan extends further than the media-worthy happenings of the world as His providence works in every aspect of our lives. Matthew 10:29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care,” stresses how not even a sparrow could fail unless God allows it. Are our daily lives not worth more than the flight of a sparrow? Let this be a reminder that not a single one of us could fail or even let alone succeed outside of God’s providence. 

Past Presents 

We know Providence is God’s sovereignty and plan in which he uses to shape our future, but it’s also a paradox in that providence gift that can only be seen backwards. As Christians we know that God is shaping our paths and that through good things and bad, small and big, that his plan is working. But, it’s also hard to trust and obey His plan when we can’t see fully what he has in store until we experience it till the end, and it’s what makes it so hard to believe because although we know something is happening, we don’t know what it is and what the outcome will be. Although, through scripture we know he is faithful as he reassures, “God has a purpose and plan for you. His plans are sure, true, and faithful.” (Jeremiah 29:4-14). 

God works out all things, not just some things, but all according to the counsel of His will, revealing that God has a plan and a purpose for the world and governs history such that everything from the least to the greatest contributes to the achievement of that plan and purpose. So there is no such thing as chance. It can only be providence, something we cannot see but only experience it. So keep your trust in him and obey, and know that God is sovereign over all things, that even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground unless he wills it.

The Lynch Pin

Officially, a lynchpin is defined as a locking pin inserted through the axel or a shaft of the inner workings of a wheel as a way to ‘secure’ everything together. Without it, the mechanism would fall apart. Colloquially, a lynchpin would be described as someone integral to a group or organisation. For example, have you ever observed that an outing with a certain friend group doesn’t seem to feel right without that one person there? Or when the captain of a sporting team is absent, how the whole team struggles and could possibly lose? As the leader, the captain is the “rock”, providing support to those who elected for him to lead them. 

It’s incredible, isn’t it? How a seemingly small component could play such a pivotal role in ensuring the success of a group or organisation. On the other hand, when that missing piece is in place,  it acts as the integral cornerstone and pillar of support in which all things work through. 

In our lives, it is important to ask ourselves the question of what or who is our personal lynch pin. What is it that keeps us together? What is it that pushes us on and provides us with the strength we need? Who is our cornerstone? In the Bible Paul reveals to us our lynch pin, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). 

The Apostle Paul expresses the pivotal role of Jesus in our lives. Through his gospel, it is revealed to us that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, a bridge was formed between man and God, enabling us to create a bond and have a relationship with God, something that was not possible before, “in his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3). We as humans on earth were bound to perish, but instead, the Son of Man descended and came down to us. He became our “lynch pin” and opened a gateway for us to have union with God. J.I. Packer quotes Paul and mentions, “ if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”  He accentuates the importance of Christ and how his resurrection is the vessel of our salvation, how Jesus ultimately became the missing piece. 

As humans, no one is strong enough; there will be numerous times in our lives when we will struggle, feel empty or even feel alone. Through the Bible we are constantly reminded to return to the one and only individual that is strong enough to sustain and hold us together, Christ. Isaiah 41:10 reveals God’s promise to sustain us as our cornerstone. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” It reminds us that we shouldn’t turn to anything else or seek anyone else in times of distress. Instead, we should seek God, for He is faithful and will provide for us, delivering us to salvation. 

John 1:1-3 states, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made.” Without God the Creator, there would be nothing. He has revealed Himself to us as the very being who holds us together, and it is His existence alone that has given us a purpose -the chief end of man, which is to serve, glorify and enjoy Him forever. Not only did the Lord design us in His image and purpose, but we were created to never be apart from Him. Separation from Him would be detrimental to our being, as we would forever feel the absence of His presence. Shouldn’t this purpose, the one designed especially for us, be the one thing that motivates us to do the works appointed to us by Christ? 

We have already been provided with the ultimate lynch pin, one that was right in front of us the whole time. 

One that can provide for us and bring us eternal joy and happiness. 

One that can deliver us to salvation! 

Christ is the missing piece in all our lives, and it is up to us whether we will be willing to surrender to His authority. Will we be willing to allow Him to shape our lives? To the lynch pin that holds us together? 

Reginella Lapenna (18) is one of the many writers in the RE Generation-Z community. She aspires to use her talents to serve God, growing and bringing others to the light of Christ. You’ll often find her in the kitchen cooking, eating and hoping to be the next Wolfgang Puck.

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