The Final “D” Has It!
After informal interviews with multiple youth, young adults, and young families, one common theme that has emerged is a sense of being displaced, disoriented, disconnected, and distanced. Many went even further, noting that the pandemic environment, which requires physical distancing, has left them feeling like life is rolling by. It feels as if they are looking on from a distant spectator booth. They feel distanced from prior life goals and aspirations.
The Displaced. There are many who feel as if they have been removed to a different place—emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially; as though it’s a challenge to function and thrive on the peripherals of prior comfort zones. Jesus speaks in clear tones to the displaced by the gentle reminder that we are all pilgrims in a strange land. Hebrews 13:14 (NKJV) states, “for here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” Since sin initially displaced us, the sense of being displaced, which generates a deep longing for our heavenly home, is a positive space for the follower of Christ.
The Disoriented. Young adults have expressed concerns about losing their bearings and especially feeling the impact of social disorientation. For many, it is taking an extended minute for them to recalibrate and adjust to building interpersonal skills via creative, innovative, and electronic means. Amidst the confusion of the moment, Jesus provides the antidote for all layers of disorientation—His peace. Thus, Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) declares, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
The Disconnected. Many individuals feel severed from prior friendships, as well as a sense of detachment from meaningful activities and people who were precious to them. Others describe their experiences using the power cord metaphor, noting that they feel unplugged from their power source that proverbially drove their lives, aspirations, and successes. Here, Jesus invites all to plug in and stay connected, to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to call upon Him and He will answer (Jeremiah 33:3), to expect answers even before we call (Isaiah 65:24), to ask and it shall be given unto us (Matthew 7:7).
The Distanced. There is a time when too much personal space begins to wear on you—especially for many young adults who recently secured their first apartments/homes. It is a time when the lines that separate living alone and loneliness become blurred. To those who feel distanced, who are concerned about the mounting individualism and impersonality of the times, James 4:8 states, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you;” and Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV).
Whether displaced, disoriented, disconnected, or distanced, Jesus calls all today to be determined to love, serve, and know Him. It’s a rock-firm resolve that the quadruple Ds will not impede my walk with Jesus.
David McKenzie is the director of the Youth, Young Adult, Pathfinder, and Adventurer ministries in the Atlantic Union Conference.