In Psalms 10, David is pouring out his heart to God begging him to punish the wicked and provide relief to the poor and helpless. How often I do that in my own life! All you have to do is turn on the news and see people suffering pretty much everywhere. I am especially heartbroken these days over the state of our young people. They are bullied, made fun of, abused, and oppressed by their peers. They suffer from crippling depression and anxiety. They struggle with addiction, self-harm, and eating disorders. They don’t know who they are. They don’t think they have value in this world. They don’t see themselves as beautiful, unique creations of God. They think about taking their own lives, they make plans, they have the means, and some carry through with it. And it’s all becoming more and more common place.
How has this become the new normal? When I read Psalm 10, I think of our teenagers as being the poor, helpless people. In many ways, our teenagers are more resourceful than ever, but they can also be helpless when given too much access, too much responsibility, and too much freedom before their brains are physically capable of processing all of it. The part of the brain that processes pleasure and reward is developed before the part of the brain that processes decision making and consequences. Most brains aren’t fully developed until the mid-twenties, yet we expect our teenagers to be capable of making decisions with adult size consequences. Maybe I just sound like an old person here but I think our kids today are dealing with much more difficult situations regarding decision making, and the consequences are greater than those I faced as a young person. When I was in high school, I didn’t know of anyone who committed suicide, over dosed on drugs, feared for their life at school, was arrested, or didn’t know what bathroom to use. For my teenagers, this is all commonplace.
So, what are we as caring adults who love our teenagers supposed to do? I am encouraged by the end of this Psalm starting in verse 16 where David proclaims that the Lord is king forever and He will bring hope and justice. We can play our part by helping our young people process all this information and point them to the God who cares, who sees and loves them. The God that will save them from all the craziness in this world. The one who provides hope and relief. We can to help them discern what is true, what is real, and what is a half-truth twisted to benefit those who exclaim it, and what is out right false or wrong. They have lots or resources ‘screaming’ at them believe this, do that, this is what will make you happy. They need to know that God is real, He made them, He loves them beyond measure, and He has a purpose for their lives. He is truly the hope and the truth they are seeking.
If you know a young person, I encourage you to get involved in their lives. I know it can be scary, and you might need a hard hat and a suit of armor to protect yourself, but they need you now more than ever. They need your help navigating through all this information. You may not know how to use Snapchat or who Logan Paul is but you have more experience in this life just living. You can be the voice of reason, of love, and of truth. You can be the voice that leads them to their Creator and Savior who is the real source of hope, comfort, and truth. Suit up and get on the battlefield. You might take a few hits, but you might also save a life.
Director of Family Life Ministries