There I said it. Although we all think that we live in a perfect place, the reality is far from perfect. And that's okay. Because God has a purpose for everything.
Our family is going through a hardship right now. And I have learned some lessons I would like to share with the young people of America. In Psalm 71.7 and 18, it says, "My life is an example to many because you have been my strength and my protection...let me proclaim your power to this generation, your mighty miracles to all." We cannot go through this without sharing our struggle with this generation. Our prayer is that 10,000 teenagers will come to Christ through our trial.
Here are a few lessons from My Broken Palace.
1. The first lesson from our Palace is that even though our Palace might be broken, there is a King and Queen in every Palace.
I ran across this little booklet several years ago. And one of the phrases that God has been speaking to me about is the idea of 'My Broken Palace'. This concept is the title of the teen outreach booklet from Book of Hope, USA. And the reality is that you can always find something beautiful everywhere. Because God is the beauty. The King is present and when the King is present, there is always purpose.
My. Broken. Palace.
2. Everyone has problems.
Pop psychology may say that 'I'm okay, you're okay', and pop music might boast 'Because I'm Happy', but, the reality is that we are not okay. All have sinned and fallen short of the expectations of God. If we admit this, Christ is faithful to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from unrighteousness. If we do not admit this, the wages of our sin is death.
In the past 18 months, every member of my family has experienced either physical or spiritual hardship. In a significant way. And this trial has been the impetus to our prayers for a generation. What a powerful thought. Not My Broken Palace. But, Your Broken Palace too. We need a reality check in America. It is important that we think correctly. Our mindset in the U.S. is one of ease and comfort. But, that is simply not correct thinking. As a matter of fact, ease and comfort haven't created anything but entitled sleepers. At some point in life, we must admit it. We. Have. A. Problem.
My. Broken. Palace.
3. Band-aids don't work on spiritual problems.
Today, because teen lives and the teen world are so messed up, young people try to fix themselves and put on pretty. They try to put on peace. They try to put on value. They try to dress up their brokenness. But, you cannot put paint over rust, or, band-aids over a broken arm. Or, a dress on a pig. Because it will still be rusted, broke, and ugly.
The only way you can fix a spiritual problem is to fix it at the heart level. God is the missing piece (peace) for every person because He is the one that put them together. I John 1 states that, 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness.' This principle is the central truth of scripture. God alone can fix the problem of sin.
4. God is the author of life and isn't finished with our story
The brokenness of this generation is real. I have received hundreds of letters, emails, and personal conversations from students about the kind of things they are dealing with today. BROKEN homes, BROKEN relationships, BROKEN dreams, BROKEN promises, BROKEN bodies, and BROKEN hearts. The palace that we have called The American Dream has become a nightmare.
The American Dream is no longer a garden. It has been over-run with weeds and unwanted pests. And looks more like a jungle. The American Dream castle that our young people think they are living in is really cracked at its foundation. And looks more like a dungeon. But, there is hope. And there is an answer. Hear the scriptures that restore the brokenness of our lives:
Amos 9.11 says, "In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be..."
Proverbs 24.30-31, "I went past the field of the lazy man, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgement..., and its wall was broken down."
Proverbs 25.28 says, "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control."
My message to this generation is simple. The marquee isn't saying what's really playing! Hidden in the secret place beyond the make-up and the labels is a broken young man and young lady. But it's okay. God does His greatest work in the midst of our greatest need. He is not intimidated by our mess. Let Him make something beautiful and purposeful out of the garbage of our lives.
Sure, they may look like a garden on the outside, but, if you look closely, there is a jungle in the life of every teenager. There are hurts, rebellion, lies, fear, and materialism. But, do you see the healing, obedience, truthfulness, courage, and sacrifice? This creative expression called Trashart is a powerful image. Where people on the streets find what has been thrown out and discarded and then make something beautiful out of it. That is exactly what God does to create His Magnus Opus. His greatest work.
Inside every prince is a King. And inside every princess is a Queen. And it is our responsibility to pull it out of them. Our prayer is that what we are going through as a family will model to this generation the purpose of God upon our lives. To model to this generation the faithfulness of God to those who serve Him. He will redeem every moment of our lives. It is our responsibility to tell the story that He is writing.