IS LIFE REALLY
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“What’s the point of going on when your life’s been stuffed from the beginning!?”
Despite that cry, his family never saw it coming when, just a week later, the 17-year-old took his own life.
Jason is now one of the statistics that makes New Zealand the record holder for youth suicides in the so-called developed world.
Have you ever felt like Jason, that life is pointless, or that your own life means nothing? Is there something going on in your life right now that makes you want to check out?
Do you feel powerless to change anything for the better? Or maybe you don’t think it’s worth the effort, that you have nothing to live for anyway.
As with many of the good and bad things in life, you are not alone in feeling this way. You are not the first to have these thoughts and you won’t be the last. But be assured – there can always be life beyond the fear and pain of living.
A few thousand years back, a man called Job had a pretty great life. Then, in a series of disasters, he lost everything including his family. His story is told in the Bible, in the Book of Job.
He collapsed, he wished he was dead. He wasn’t a young man, but he’d reached the same point that maybe you, and many others, have come to. He could see no way out of his situation and cursed his life, saying: “Let the day perish on which I was born…. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it…. Let the stars of its dawn be dark…. Why did I not die at birth?”(Job 3:1-11).
Job’s friends weren’t much help, encouraging him to blame himself – he must be a sinner, they said – until one of them urged Job to “stop and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14). Chapters 37-42 in the Book of Job provide great reading for personal reflection in times of worry or distress.
One thing in Job’s favour was his ability to cope with difficulties. He was resilient, even if he didn’t always feel it. His strength was certainly severely tested, but he won through with the help of his trust that, in the end, God would not abandon him.
Jesus in word and action
Resilience is the ability to find a way through whatever life throws at you. It’s something we can learn and build upon, as we navigate through tough times. And for those moments when we don’t feel particularly resilient or strong, God has blessed us with people we can lean on – friends, family, church leaders, support groups, helplines.
Jesus also makes the promise that He will be that kind of person – present to us, listening, encouraging. He says: “I am with you always”(Matthew 28:20). You have only to still yourself for a moment, call His name and speak your need.
Remember, above all, that Jesus is on your side. He came “that they may have life, and have it abundantly”(John 10:10).
It is easy to love God when everything is going well. Can the love for God stay with us when the going gets rough? This is the test of love through life.
The fist Job shook at God, opened out into an open, pleading hand. If God does not give up on us, let us not give up on God.
What the Church says...
Love and support was always at the heart of the teachings of Jesus. He was constantly telling people not to be afraid because of God’s personal love for them. He didn’t promise an easy life, but reminded people that God did not make rubbish. He created and cared for everyone and everything.
“For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows!” (Matthew 10:29-31).
The questions for all who are baptised are these:
What gift or gifts have I received from God?
How might this gift or these gifts be used to build up the Church for mission?
How am I called to serve?
A prayer of faith
Dear God, I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me. And what you want to give me is love – unconditional, everlasting love.
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GET THE Book
Identity:Identified contains 24 inserts and highlighting of key passages within the New Testament that are designed to help teenagers navigate life’s challenges with ways to identify why God created each one of us in the unique way He did.
This book also has a number of QR codes that link to a series of special videos that have numerous people sharing their stories and how they cope with life.
This is the perfect tool to help the younger generation in your life to follow Jesus as they navigate the challenges of life and trust him as a true friend and companion.