This picture has a 1,000 words.
Seen in the accompanying photo are mask clad, socially distanced high school students glued to their cell phones.
This morning I dropped Elena Kay off at high school. As she got out of the vehicle, I laughed seeing the scene described above. Jokingly I told my daughter, “You can go join them now!”
As I took the photo and drove away my laughter quickly turned into sadness. I realized it was figuratively a snapshot of the challenges our youth now face. Although, I believe there is hope on the horizon as we will see through this prophetic picture.
Salem High School opens up at 7:08. Until that time the high school students have to wait outside the doors. This photo not only captured this daily routine but it also highlighted three handicaps our youth are facing. You’ll notice there are three handicap parking signs in the foreground.
Technology dependence is the first handicap. It has led to challenges in developing real relationships in today’s society. Many have pointed out the trap of social media and how it cannot replace true friendship.
Secondly, the handicap of the virus has further created relational separation. While I do not doubt the veracity of the illness, I believe the enemy has exacerbated its affects on people throughout the world. We have been conditioned in the last year to stay away from each other.
Lastly, you will see that there are no adults in the photo. Symbolically, many of the younger generation have been handicapped by the absence of Godly leadership in their lives. This reality is played out in different facets either at home, school or elsewhere. This has lead to a worldview of “do whatever feels right to you.”
Waiting for Peace
The word “Salem” is etymologically derived from the Hebrew word “shalom.” It means completeness, soundness, welfare or peace. We see a crowd of youth locked outside waiting to enter “peace.”
Unlocking this peace comes through the revelation of Jesus Christ. The time when the door unlocks at the school, 7:08, speaks to this, as well. In the Bible, seven represents completion or being finished while eight speaks of new beginnings. Our old life is finished when we unlock our hearts to the Prince of Peace and our new life in Him begins.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.Isaiah 9:6-7
I believe this revelation is about to open up to our youth in a spectacular and profound way. They are looking for answers and the One they need is not found in a TikTok video, Instagram story or Snapchat.
The Sun Is Rising
In the background of the photo, the sun is rising making for a beautiful back drop. It reminded me of the promise of Isaiah 60.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.Isaiah 60:1-3
While the original text has a direct application for the people of Israel, God is declaring this over the young and old even now. The glory of the Lord rising upon all generations will awaken us out of our stupor. His light will shine and dispel the darkness. Through this awakening our light will shine before all men, as well.
Malachi 4 prophesies of a time when the sun of righteousness will rise and bring healing. The hearts of our young people are in desperate need of that healing. They must encounter righteousness that will completely shift their course into their God-crafted destiny.
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty.Malachi 4:1-3
The calves are waiting at the gate. Waiting to be set free to frolic. This generation has a hunger that is yet to be satisfied. Just as these students stare into a 5″ screen looking for fulfillment, all of humanity has tried everything that is available to satiate our souls. Only Jesus fills us with satisfaction.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.Matthew 5:6
What Is Our Part?
Pray. Come into agreement with the Word of God that promises that His light will shine. He promised to pour out His Spirit on all flesh. He promised that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth like the waters cover the sea. He wants the light to shine more than we do. It is our responsibility to say yes to what He is already put in motion.
Believe. The sun rose at 7:00 am today. While the students waited for the doors to open, the sun was just about to crest the building. I believe with all my heart we are so close to experiencing the brightest light we have ever seen. The wait is almost over. Hold tight and see the salvation of the Lord. Philippians 1:6 reminds us that He will complete the good work He started.
Arise & Shine. Rise up in the place you are called. Shine for the glory of the Lord. You have been anointed and set apart to represent the Kingdom of God. No excuses … the same power that raised Christ from the dead now lives in us. When the sun shines, the night has no choice but to retreat.
You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:13) … go ahead and shine.