by Peter G. Feenstra
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Ecclesiastes 11:9
Do young people have any reason to be happy? We live in a culture where many teens struggle with depression, having a very low view of themselves. Life seems to have so little purpose! Faced with hardship and disappointment, many teens consider suicide as an attractive and viable option. The Preacher encourages covenant youth to break out of the meaningless mentality. They are to find joy in the One who created them fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:14). Literally, chapter 11:9 reads, “Rejoice, O chosen one, while you are young.” The Preacher addresses those who have been handpicked by the Lord. Covenant youth are privileged and the Preacher calls them to rejoice and be happy because they are special and they serve an awesome God.
Consider the wonderful opportunities God gives! Embrace them with enthusiasm! Verse 8 says, “However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.” (NIV) Having an above-the-sun perspective, in which you know the forgiveness of sins and daily renewal, you are able to enjoy life. You don’t need to despair or let darkness have the upper hand because you know of the triumph of Christ.
Adults and parents are to lead the way in showing covenant children that they can be happy in the Lord. Teenagers should come to know Christian adults as those who take the time to explore the beauty of God’s creation and the wonder of His saving ways in Christ; they find rest and peace for their troubled lives in the Lord Jesus.
The wisdom of the Lord is both profound and practical! Learning to be happy and to rejoice already in our youth will bring anxiety under control. It will take away the bitterness and hurt that sometimes fills our hearts because it gives us a whole new perspective on who we are. Verse 10 says, “So, then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body...” (NIV) Teens and young adults face a lot of anxieties—the stress of future plans, relationships that frustrate them, family life that disappoints them and friends that forsake them. But when you come to see what God has done for you in Jesus Christ you are lifted up and out of what knocks and bogs you down. You are given every reason to rejoice!For further information about this resource, click here.