The Time is Now.
I spoke for the first time recently to a local youth group. I shared my story of victory through Jesus Christ with the battle of depression, most importantly, on my personal battle of suicidal tendencies, and my personal experience as a parent with a child who is cutting.
Though we had a wonderful discussion, I know I left so much on the table when it comes to a fight that our teenagers are desperately searching for help with. These topics are ugly, I know it, you know it, and we as a community know it. Not our children, we cry. Not the innocent beautiful children.
Father God- prepare each of us for these talks!
Whether you want to admit it or not, it is happening right now. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children ages 10 -24. According to the Jason Foundation, more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
My heart aches for the youth of this world. With instant sensationalized news at their fingertips, coming at them at remarkable speed (whether accurate or inaccurate), they are being bombarded with more bad news than ever before. Is there more bad news than in other times in history? No, not necessarily. It is the fact that more of the news is readily available in seconds. Let’s be honest about the news- we readers and listeners have given so much attention to the most negative news out there, that now the media strives to bring us the most disheartening story ‘first’. The biggest kudos given to the network that delivers that breaking news. Through the years, the integrity of reporting drastically declined- as the goal became to read first and more often, rather than to share accurate stories. News is devoid of emotion, unless it is negatively pulling at your gut.
Our children, filled with emotion in these tender years, are becoming lost. From an early age, they have witnessed horrendous assaults, murders, profanity, and so many other unfortunate acts of violence- in their video games alone. Yet, there have been arguments for decades now against there being an impact on them. News is flowing 24/7 at their fingertips, mass murders are now common to this generation of kids! They know of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Orlando, San Bernardino, Charleston, Las Vegas- this list is much longer than I even realized! This is common to our kids.
Are hearts becoming hardened to the news? I am not sure that is the real problem. All hearts fill with personal pain when we hear of the pain of others. The only heart hardened is the one murdering people. The problem is the great loss of hope they feel. Where is hope when you cannot attend a concert without worries of being shot? Where is hope when you are simply trying to enjoy a movie? Or a Bible study? Where is hope?
What is missing?
Jesus! Jesus is our hope! He is beyond anything this world can ever provide- emotionally or physically. You and I are the example of faith needed to help society overcome. Our children need to witness real faith, real hope, and real love- not after a catastrophe and in response to another tragedy, but in the everyday life of believers. Jesus was the ultimate example. He did not sit comfortably in the temple his entire life. He walked the roads, met people where they are. If we cannot walk out of the building, and share our faith to bring hope to those lost, then we have failed.
That group of teenagers had some who have already tried to commit suicide, and had a couple who are intentionally cutting themselves to relieve their pain. The beautiful children need to hear from us about the greatness and goodness of God! They need to hear how completely loved they are, and they need to hear it far more than what they hear on TV or read in the palm of their hand. They need to hear from us in the church and outside the church, in our homes, or on the street corner- wherever it is they are, that’s exactly where they need to hear about the life giving promises of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior. Today alone, almost 3,500 children will try to end their life- many will die.
We do not have time to waste. The time is now!