‘Comfort’ Meditations No.24: A Word for Teens
1 Sam16:11 “There is still the youngest, He is tending the sheep.”
So we have been considering specific people groups that are especially vulnerable and reveal needs of being comforted. We moved from general considerations about the downcast, that can include all of us from time to time, to briefly consider the aged and then those who for a variety of reasons may now find themselves vulnerable, if for no other reason than the fact that they have no one back at home with whom to share their wonderings, their fears, their doubts, and their questions. But now we jump from the aged to the younger generation, specifically teenagers, which is what we find in our starter verse above.
This was Jesse speaking about his teenage son who he hadn’t deemed worthy of meeting the great prophet, Samuel. Later in his story, it is clear his older brothers thought even less of him (1 Sam 17:28). Teenage years are frequently years of confusion, uncertainty about identity and misunderstanding by parents.
Before we rush past this last point, can I focus parents on their teenagers. As I have indicated elsewhere, for teens to feel secure, we need to establish a God-awareness or God-experience environment in our family from the very earliest years when we might have prayed over our children, teaching them to learn to bring all things to God in prayer, and also convey our commitment to God’s word that anchors or forms a basis of our lives. If you don’t do this, note two things. First, it is never too late to start and, second, if you don’t establish this environment for your family you are leaving them very vulnerable to the winds of change in modern society.
But there is something else to note in the Christian family. Where our children have made a commitment to Christ, watch for two things. First, be alert to what God might be doing in them. I nearly missed the potential of my kids until an evangelist and a prophet singled them out!!! Second, don’t be over-protective of them spiritually. They may step out in the realms of the Spirit more than you do. Don’t limit them, be there in the background praying for them and being ready when they open up but don’t hinder the Spirit; He’s always looking to take the next generation on further than we allowed Him to go.
Good old Samuel saw his son just as the boy who looked after their sheep but quickly learns God has other ideas. God has this teenager lined up to be the next king! Awesome!
If you have teens (children or grandchildren) look at them through God’s eyes. We may have giant-slayers in our midst! I wonder, do we expect, pray for, and work for, our children to become men or women of God? No guarantees (they still have free will!) but…..