Hanging over America and especially America’s youth is a spirit of despair. There is a sense of hopelessness, frustration and “why bother” attitude. Too many teens as well as adults have little sense of our history, patriotism, dreams, or excitement. Most are just getting by day by day without a sense of wonder, gratitude or expectation. Where did this come from and what can we do about it?
Teen Suicide Statistics Thousands of teens commit suicide each year in the United States. In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds. Source: Teen Suicide, Mood Disorder, and Depression (Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics, Last Updated 10/18/2016
When we look at all the suicide statistics it is obvious we are facing an epidemic. While science can label the victims of suicide as bipolar, manic depressive, mood disorder and a host of other names we need to recognize that human beings are not just disrupted chemical brain reactions but in fact we are made up of mind, soul, spirit and body. They all go together and science alone cannot explain the epidemic we are facing. Listen to the words of Jesus: And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
Consider the change of attitude in America that is directly anti-history and confusing for our youth:
- Redefinition of marriage to whatever you want it to be.
- Gender identity is how you feel inside not on how you are made.
- Belief in God as creator is ridiculed and rejected in the public arena.
- America was established by evil European men who were out for themselves.
- Every white person is a racist with abundant privileges over others.
- America is an evil nation and needs to be radically changed.
- The Constitution is outdated and irrelevant for the 21st Century.
- Love is whatever feels good.
- Christianity is not belief in a personal God but in a philosophy of life.
- Inconvenient pregnancies can be easily terminated since abortion is another form of birth control.
- Get all you can now since there are no consequences after death.
- Sex is for pleasure and you should get as much as you can.
- The spiritual realm doesn’t exist if you cannot touch and see it.
The basic problem for our confused society comes down to three questions that I heard over and over at the bedside of the dying:
- Why didn’t I spend more time with my family?
- Why was I created, what was I suppose to do?
- What happens after I die?
None of these three questions are being addressed in our society and unfortunately in too few churches across America. This past year I was privileged to meet every Wednesday evening with five young women (12-13 years old) and study the Bible and our Christian faith. My goals were simple. Answer these three questions the way Jesus addresses them in the Bible. We had a great year together and I will miss meeting with them in the future.
One of the student’s parents gave me an insight into how the year went for her daughter. She told me that she got a call from her daughter’s public school teacher. The teacher was amazed at one of her answers on a essay that asked the students to list the top ten characteristics about themselves. The conversation when like this:
The teacher said, “I wanted you to know how your daughter answered the essay, especially the number one identity characteristic regarding herself.”
“Ok,” said the mom, not knowing what was coming next.
The teacher paused and then read the answer for this young girl. “My number one characteristic is “I am an Ambassador of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”
WOW! This young women has answered all three of these deathbed questions in that single phrase. She understands her call to invest in her family, her calling to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others, and that she will be with the Lord Jesus in heaven forever.
Imagine America if every young person truly identified themselves in this manner? It would be a different America filled with hope, not despair, joy not sorrow, purpose not wandering through life, confidence instead of fear, and love for others rather than just loving themselves.
So how do you overcome despair?
Intentionally invest in your family your love, time and energy. Agree with Jesus what he created you to be his ambassador of the Gospel sharing his calling to repent and trust in him alone. Finally to believe the words of Jesus where he says in John 11:24-25 “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” When you know and believe his answer death is merely the doorway to eternal life.