Many years ago I was involved in a conversation with a young mother whose son had recently been caught at school with drugs. Within her lament was the repeated declaration of embarrassment, “How could he do this to me?” “Why won’t kids today just take our word for it?” she cried. Her fiery questions masked a genuinely pained heart.

As she spoke the emptiness was unmistakable. Drugs and promiscuity once captivated her own life, stealing her youth, while forcing guilt and heartache into the crevices of her existence. She described the plaguing questions that led her down destructive pathways, the longings she tried to answer unsuccessfully. Sadly, it became more apparent that the deepest lament in her heart was that she had still not found the answer. She had learned in her years things that were not the answer, but the restlessness in her heart remained. Now she watched as her own son walked down the same empty roads, searching for answers himself, yet refusing to take her word for it.

No doubt, she too, had been pointed in different directions, each offering the tempting promise of better life, a better hope. But we live in a distrusting age. The generation of young people before us is much less trusting of the words and promises of others than previous generations have been.

A recent survey asked people of all ages to describe the single most defining attribute of their entire generation. As you can imagine, factors of war, economic depression, and political unrest were common answers for older generations. But the youngest group interviewed had a response that I still find unsettling, even as I believe it to be true. The group collectively responded that their generation was most defined by “broken promises.” The cynical spirit felt on today’s university campuses affirms the validity of such a response.

When the disciples rushed to tell Thomas the news of Christ’s resurrection, Thomas scoffed at his own friends. “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). It was undoubtedly a harsh response in wake of their life-changing news. Yet, the gospel accounts note that Thomas continued to gather with these disciples, all of whom undoubtedly remained ecstatic about seeing Jesus alive just days before. Like all of us, intrigued by the hope of a promise, Thomas wanted to believe Jesus was alive. He just needed personal affirmation.

The good news of the gospel for a cynical generation is that Christ does not ask you simply to take someone’s word for it. The gospel accounts depict a truth that confronts us personally, the Christ who demands to know, “Who do you say that I am?” When Pilate stood before Jesus asking if he was the King of the Jews, Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (John 18:34). Jesus wants more than a simple nod in his direction; he asks you to take his life and find life in his name. He asks that you find him personally. It is a call that has defined countless generations.

To the doubt-ridden disciple, Jesus drew near. “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (John 20:27). “My Lord and my God!” Thomas cried. Might our own encounters with the risen Christ be equally defining.

By Jill Carattini
Managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias
International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Jumpstart your prayer life today with this empowering, uplifting and inspiring 30 Day Prayer Challenge. Act Now Beloved Saint! Don’t let the enemy cheat you out of your divine destiny! Invest in yourself today, and begin to unlock your destiny through these powerful prayers!

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1 Thessalonians 5:17-18: “Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

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