Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions. (Airing daily on Hope 103.2 and Inspire Digital at 9am)
I was born in 1950, so I’m one of the four million Australians born between 1946 to 1961, known as the ‘baby boomers’. What an interesting generation we are—many of us guys had long hair back then. Now we’re wondering where it’s gone.
Age is catching up with us even though we don’t like to admit it. Studies have been done about the impact on society as we ‘boomers’ grow older, especially the costs for our health care.
But I don’t want to talk about that so much, but to ask the question: Does this generation feel happy and fulfilled? Apparently not if you read more facts and figures. Sadly, figures from America have shown that the suicide rate among 45- to 54-year-olds has increased nearly 20%, and that figure is growing. Here is the tragedy—that healthy, successful men and women are killing themselves, and no-one can understand why.
Many have nice homes, families and grandchildren—and it seems they have achieved every measure of success. But it doesn’t seem to be enough. Many in my generation have given in to cynicism, failing to find answers; coming to dead-ends instead of enlightenment. Many believed that money would be the answer. So, the future can look gloomy for the baby boomers. The futility of life has driven many to despair, and there is not much hope. And that is sad.
Depression is often the driving force behind suicide, and doctors are diagnosing depression at historic rates. Depression warps and twists reality. Depression kills hope. It whispers insidious lies to the soul: They’ll be better off without you. For the baby boomers, I believe there is a special message of hope to be found in the Bible.
Suddenly, Everything Made Sense
We read a large number of people had decided to follow Jesus, but after a while some left him:
They no longer wanted to be associated with him. Then Jesus gave the Twelve disciples their chance: “Do you also want to leave?”
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Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:66-69 – The Message)
What did Peter mean? Jesus’ teachings had become harder and harder to accept. The dreams of those who had been looking for a conquering king had been dashed by a teacher more interested in prayer and faith than freeing an oppressed nation from Roman chains. But the twelve disciples seemed to have caught something the crowds had missed. They had gained an insight into Jesus that intrigued them, a glimpse of something much more important than political revolution, even in the midst of a corrupt and unjust oppression by Roman thugs.
Life had seemed okay before Jesus. Now, a year later, they looked back and realised how empty everything had been, how pointless all their striving and scheming had been compared to—this. “You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’re committed to you,” said Peter, and the rest nodded their agreement. What did he mean by ‘real life, eternal life’?
I think he was saying, for the first time everything makes sense. For the first time I think I understand what God wants from me—I have a purpose, and it’s a good purpose. I feel alive. I was a nobody, throwing nets out into the sea, hauling in fish, selling them for a few measly coins, patching my nets and doing it all again the next day. It’s a living, sure, but it isn’t living, if you know what I mean.
I think Peter was saying that God had allowed him to glimpse something eternal, and in that glimpse Peter had seen a spot where he, a rather ordinary fisherman, fit into God’s great puzzle. Fit perfectly.
Peter found a plan that goes on beyond death, a plan that isn’t afraid of death because death has become a doorway, not a wall. Peter and the other eleven had found someone who had shown them God as they had never known him before. And now life was good: their hearts were filled, they wanted to live. Really live!
The contrast is profound. In an age of health, wealth and comfort, baby boomers are losing hope in everything they have ever believed in, everything they have worked so hard to achieve. They are losing interest in life. Now, more than ever, we need to hear the words that Peter heard, words that convinced these twelve disciples that Jesus was the very heart and soul of life. It can be the same for you, too.