Children in Trouble

The Christian Science Monitor, September 22, 1995 | Go to article overview

Children in Trouble


THE other day a troubled young man was asked by his parents why he had stopped praying. He answered, "What's the sense? What's the use? We teenagers sin so much every day, we're just going straight to hell." Painful words to hear. There's enough in that answer to keep many parents up all night in prayer. There are two issues at the heart of this young man's anguish that prayer needs to address. The first is the feeling that God has abandoned-or will abandon-us. God never forsakes His children. In the Bible the Old Testament illustrates that the children of Israel fell from grace time and time again. They disobeyed God's Commandments; they created idols, committed adultery, robbed, and murdered. Yet God was constant. As the Psalmist wrote, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalms 46:1). True, the people suffered for their sins, for sin inevitably brings suffering. But when they turned to God with all their heart, He helped them. Parents will want to pray to find the right time and the right words to help teenagers realize that they can never lose their divine right to turn to God and find proof of His help. The prophet Jeremiah covered this point well: "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord" (29:11-14). When people are afraid of God and think of Him merely as a fierce judge, they are deprived of the divine aid that is ever at hand. Throughout his ministry, Christ Jesus brought to light God's ever-present love. He reached out in particular to those society felt were lost. That Christlike, loving care, delivering men and women from sin and pain, is still present and available to all today. The second point that needs much prayer is the claim that teenagers live in an atmosphere where sin is inevitable-that premarital sex, drinking, smoking, drugs, theft, and violence are the prime ingredients of the culture in which they live. …

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