Every year, over 43.8 million (18.5%) American adults suffer from some type of mental illness, enduring conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, bi-polar disorder, or schizophrenia. Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%. Others suffer from disabilities or conditions they live with day in and day out; chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines and headaches, heart defects, pain, etc.
Living with a chronic condition can cause one to question their trust in God. Why me Lord? Why do I have to go through this? We may have all felt at one time or another that we were being tested. Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight." Do we trust the Lord with all our heart? God wants the best life possible for us no matter what challenge or difficulty we encounter.
Life is hard for teens with a chronic illness, desperately seeking a way to handle the pain. God calls us to be Christ to others through acts of love and service. Jesus says, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40b NIV) God wants us not to judge, but to see all people as God sees them, as our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.
Ask your teen...
What situation in your life has led you to ask, "Why God?"
Who or what enabled you to trust that God was with you, even before you could see the bigger picture?
Challenge your teen...
Step up and show the radical love of Christ to the hurting, the sick, the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the immigrant.
Father, help us to find the joy, peace and hope that comes from trusting you in all circumstances. Amen.