Blog written by Johann Kikillus:
Let’s face it, being a young person has always had its challenges. It is a time of acne, low self-esteem and emotional turmoil. When I finally get to heaven, I will be asking God why He felt it necessary to include my teenage years in my life.
It has been thirty years since I finished high school. Times have changed. Back then I knew of maybe a couple of people who had smoked marijuana and it was shocking. I heard of a girl in my neighborhood who got pregnant, but she mysteriously disappeared. We had bullying and other common issues, but these issues got mostly resolved by caring educators, or our youth group leaders would lend an ear and offer advice.
Today things are completely different. My fifteen year old son shares with me everyday what is going at with his peers at school and it sounds foreign to me. Currently many of the girls are confused about their gender, and many kids are experimenting with serious drugs. These aren’t street kids, rather ones who come from wealthy homes. Across the road from my son’s school, where I have worked for the past ten years, another young male was shot this morning. Sadly more girls were sexually abused and drugs is now the norm.
I keep getting calls from concerned teachers or adults who “tip me off” about a teenager who is falling to pieces. I think it is safe to say that the mental health of our youth is at an all time low. This concern is unable to be linked to socio-economics or race, rather it seems to be a global problem.
Across the pond, in United States of America, I’ve read medical reports by secular psychologists raising the alarm of teenage suicide. Apparently one in five youth between the ages of 14 and 24 is currently contemplating suicide. Sadly, over two thousand young people committed suicide in 2020. This can fill up a large high school. So clearly we have a problem. It is just a matter of time before these problems hit the shores of Africa, although I am seeing early warning signs.
The Bible speaks of the last days where young people will be used powerfully by the Spirit of God:
“I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy…your young men will see visions,” (Joel 2:28).
The point is that God wants to use these young people to build His kingdom. It is, therefore, not surprising that the enemy is going full out to seek and destroy our children.
What is evident with most of the youth who have “fallen off the wagon” is the lack of a father figure in their lives. As recent stat here in South Africa reported that almost 70% of black children live without biological dads at home. Unsurprising then that they have issues with our Heavenly Father. The Body of Christ must become father’s to the fatherless to make His transforming love known to wounded hearts. The devil has had a field day with our youth. Today we draw a line and declare “no further.”
I wish to humbly suggest that each church or Christian organization prioritizes the next generation. Youth should be at the top of our prayer lists. Youth leaders must be empowered to reach out to as many young people as possible We need prayer walks around schools. We cannot wait for youth to come to us for help, we must be proactive and go and find them. We already know they are in distress.
As you take these steps also consider asking the LORD to reveal to you one teenager you can reach out to with the love of the Father. This one act of love can have eternal results and change destinies.