It can seem bleak when it comes to the immediate future. Especially, when looking at it through the eyes of a young person growing up to become a Christian. With everything that is happening in the world at this time, how can a young person have hope for their future? Is it worth growing up and trying to accomplish things in this life?
The definition of hope is “to trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.” Viewing hope through the eyes of a young person is not something that comes easily. It is, however, something that is learned and which needs to grow. God will protect and help design the lives of the youth, giving them hope and encouragement throughout their lives.
When we are young, it can be hard to see the future. Everything seems to be in the “here and now.” In an age of immediate gratification, it is challenging to sow seeds for the future. But these formative years as a young person are quite important.
The book of Proverbs, being very informative, gives young people useful knowledge to live by. One of the best things one can do as a young person is to learn how to apply knowledge and understanding. Many young people in the world today are growing up without Godly knowledge, resulting in the breakdown and destruction of society. Notice, we are told in Proverbs 20:11: “Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.” Today, most children are not worried about nor do they care about doing what is right; or we find most are doing whatever they feel is good. Society and social media continue to feed young children’s minds with thoughts of equality and gender neutralism with a picture of a “feel as you are” mentality.
While it is the parent’s duty to help educate children to understand the difference between right and wrong and to encourage them to do what is right, there is much more to say.
One of the most important things to understand is that God has placed parents in young people’s lives for a reason. The 5th commandment, which is the first one mentioned after the first four which are directed towards God, is to honor our parents. Giving honor to parents is the first command that comes with a reward. By honoring our parents, God says we will receive a long life.
How do you as a child honor your parents? Do you listen to what they have to say? Do you respect their wishes? Do you have good communication with them and do you not talk back? The list of questions could go on and on, but the idea is pretty simple—what do you do to show respect and honor?
Going back to the promise of long life, this command is directed to children today! Long life will be theirs if they are willing to obey God. His commands come with built-in rewards. It is truly remarkable.
God gives us hope for our futures—even for the future of young people!
It is not wrong to think in terms of what one wants to do in the future. God gives everyone gifts in terms of talents (Romans 12:6)—what they are good at. Some people are good at math. Some people may be gifted at music or art. Not everyone is able to do the same things.
As you, as a young person,grow up, your talents and gifts will start to mature. This becomes important as you move on with your life. Including God in these matters and asking Him to show you the course of direction is extremely important. There are a few persons in the Bible who did this, and God led them through their lives (including Samuel, Daniel and his friends, Jeremiah, and Jesus Christ). Even Christ grew up learning how to be a carpenter. In our free booklet, “Do You Know the Jesus of the Bible?”, in chapter 9, it states that Christ was a carpenter or an architect. He didn’t just get this skill automatically and by chance. It took a lot of learning from His step-father Joseph, and He did work in this occupation until He started His public ministry. This is important to realize as you grow up. If there is a trade that interests you, you are going to have to spend time and effort in acquiring the skills to learn this trade.
Recently, in a Youth Forum, Delayla Sperzel wrote about how a door was opened for her to have a part-time job. She rightly gave thanks to God for His hand in opening the door. Delayla had to take the initiative and do the work to get this job and to show up on time and to have a good attitude and strong work ethic, but God opened the door and gave favor to her in the eyes of her future boss. This is just one example of how God can operate in our lives.
There is a large group of younger people today who feel lost and unsure. They are scared of all the uncertainty and are in desperate need of direction. It is easy to fall into this category. But this is not the type of attitude God wants young people (or anyone, for that matter) to have. In 2 Timothy 1:7, we find quite the opposite, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
When the lead writer of this Q&A was growing up, he remembers hearing messages from some ministers about the end of the world and how close it was, and he remembers overhearing adults around him being fearful. He remembers growing up and not having a purpose and wondering what he would do. Would Christ come back before he had a chance to grow up? Was the world going to end soon? What was the point of school, of education, finding something meaningful to do?
Well, many years later, he looks back and realizes that this was the wrong attitude to take. Since then he has heard ministers in our Church say, and rightly so, that we need to live as if we have a lifetime ahead of us and yet be ready at all times for the return of Christ. As a young person, this means making plans for the future and spending time learning and being curious about how the world works, by asking questions. Having hope that you, as a young person, will accomplish the goals and the tasks you set your hand to. But at the same time, not to engage in foolish and ungodly conduct.
The early disciples tried to stop children from coming to Christ at times, and Christ rebuked them and had the little children come to Him. Mark 10:14-15 reads: “But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” The attitude of children is what Christ was observing—being humble and able to learn, being willing to listen to adults and showing respect.
God clearly states that He knows us and our children, being called and sanctified in this lifetime, well before we are born (Psalm 139:15-16). God’s plan for each and every person has its time and place. Those whose parents are called as Christians now are in a special group of people. God will certainly work with those young people and encourage them, giving them the help they need and directing their lives as long as they depend on Him, respecting and building a proper relationship with Him.
As a young person, the hope for your future begins now. It begins when you start to choose to learn about God’s ways—when you start including God in your thoughts and in your prayers. We are told that God is a rewarder of those who diligently—constantly—seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Building faith in God can begin at a young age. Converted parents have seen miracles that God has done for their children. God is constantly watching over them, as they also know that He has protected them multiple times so far.
Psalm 108:13 tells us: “Through God we will do valiantly.” With God’s help, we will do mighty things. As children, it can feel challenging at times with situations they may go through, and it can feel like they don’t know what to do, say, think; especially, when it is a big trial, or challenge, or the test of their conviction. No matter what it is, God promises that if they take their request or challenge before Him and ask for help, for understanding or guidance, He will provide a solution or a door will open that they never considered.
The Bible is full of Scriptures showing us that when we are overwhelmed, we can turn to God and expect answers.
The apostle Paul was encouraged to write the following in Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Paul went through incredible challenges as he lived his life, and so for him to tell us this, we should feel encouraged.
One of the very interesting things about God is His desire for us to try out His Way of Life. He tells us to tithe diligently, and then to watch and observe how He opens the doors and gives us blessings. The choice to do this, God leaves it up to everyone.
The future of God’s Kingdom is ahead of us. God says He will protect and preserve our children. They will live in the Millennium and will continue to learn how to live righteously. We do not quite know in every little detail what the future will be like in the Millennium, but much has been revealed to us (compare our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever.”). We can be certain that there will be peace, no more wars [with two noteworthy exceptions at the beginning and the end of the Millennium] and plenty to do. The skills and experiences that are forming children now will be useful for their future. With all the previous destruction that happened before Christ’s return, there will be a lot of opportunities in the Millennium to help regenerate the earth and learn how to do things in a better way.
In all of this we should remember that God is the One Who is in control. He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” A future and hope belong to our young people (and the old ones) who learn to rely and lean on God throughout their lives.
Lead Writer: Kalon Mitchell