I trust the reader will pause with me awhile and reflect upon the words of one of England’s great poets, William Wordsworth, from his poem, “To H.C. Six Years Old.” Wordsworth had written these lines to express his struggle in shielding his children, especially his son John, from uncertain times and the family’s financial situations. One portion of the poem struck me deeply, and several hours later I read it again. I share it with you now.
“O blessed vision! Happy child!
Thou art so exquisitely wild,
I think of thee with many fears
For what may be thy lot in future years.”
I read the poem early in the morning while rushing about and attempting to make it to class on time at IBC. Before leaving the house, I had grabbed the book and scribbled the line on a piece of scrap paper. I read it a couple more times on the way into class and by the time I arrived, I was locked on Wordsworth.
There in front of me was a class of nearly 110 Spirit-filled students – “O blessed vision!” Just what could they accomplish? “O happy child!” Free from sin, free from the world, empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, if they choose to surrender to God’s will.
“O blessed vision! O happy child! Thou art so exquisitely wild.”
The word wild, in the poet’s nuance here, represents that which is new. He is born again, beautiful, amazing and incredible. “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). It is that transformation that makes possible a new life and a joy unspeakable – the “exquisitely wild.”
And despite the great hope and inspiration that this child brings, Wordsworth is quick to speak to the deep matters that have troubled the minds and hearts of parents, friends, teachers and pastors through all ages. He feels compelled to address the ever-present realities of life, such as evil, wars, deaths, failures and disappointments – “I think of thee with many fears for what may be thy lot in future years.”
Here is where we, as did the poet, should take deep pause – “For what may be thy lot in future years?” I believe wholeheartedly that this is the definitive question of the day. This is the question each generation must grapple to answer. And if it is not, it should be. Where are we going? Who do we plan to be?
Most of us see clearly that the world’s entrenched dependence upon technology, for an example, has become extremely influential. Our youth are distracted at every level in some way by technology and entertainment, all with an agenda that promotes fleshly desires and human lusts as righteousness and attempts to destroy the influence and guidance of the church. A large percentage of young men and women are completely confused as to their sexual identity, many mutilate their bodies in self-harm, and many devastate their minds with drugs and alcohol. The problems are deep and complex and not explicit to the world; the church must not ignore this moral upheaval.
Churches, preachers, youth leaders, parents and our organizations need to address the rising tide of darkness at once – “I think of thee in many fears.” Wordsworth’s line makes no effort to minimize the dangers and difficulties that his “exquisitely wild” and “happy child” shall face. Yet he does not disregard the hope of future’s great possibilities – “O blessed vision!”
It seems to me that the primary and necessary challenge that should be given to our youth is to emphasize that the adventure of faith and fulfillment of a real Apostolic Pentecostal revival will require a willingness to be loyal and devoted to God’s Word. It will require a strong moral foundation, and pure and honest spiritual interactions. There can be no false anything! It is a great challenge to go forward when there are no immediate signs of victory or quick evidence of success against the falsehoods that surround them.
Even more discouraging is to watch them be instructed by talented and influential personalities who pull them into doctrinal and spiritual uncertainty through manipulation and theatrical antics. We need our Apostolic elders to activate the discernment of the Spirit and minimize our youth’s contact with such figures.
“O blessed vision!” – The challenge of our day is to be bold but real. A great moving of the Holy Ghost is happening around the world. It is real, and it can’t be stopped – “For what may be thy lot in future years.” There is great hope, great victory ahead, but we must keep our children walking the narrow way. And … I know we will discover there are many who will overcome their fears, and who will celebrate the joy that belongs to all who are never ashamed to answer the question:
“Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:37-38).