The year 2020 has been a time of enormous challenges. The coronavirus has engulfed the world over, resulting in millions being infected and hundreds of thousands of deaths. There are millions who are unemployed, which has had a serious effect on the economy of the United States, as well as the rest of the world.
In Matthew 24, Jesus Christ prophesied that catastrophic events would be part of our experience before His second coming. He declared, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places”—Matthew 24:6, 7 (NKJV). These prophecies are being fulfilled. COVID-19 falls into the category of pestilences, and it is having a devastating impact on the world, and this nation in particular.
While the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been affected in general, our youth have been impacted in particular. At a young age, one might not have developed a strong faith in God and is more vulnerable in times of crisis. The youth and young adults in our churches need to receive special support from the older, and more spiritually-mature, members. Yes, we all need spiritual strength in these tumultuous times, however, the younger members of our congregations are more deserving of our love and attention, especially during this pandemic.
Timothy was a young man who was entrusted with the responsibility of providing spiritual leadership to the church in Ephesus. Paul mentored Timothy, encouraging him saying, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity”—1 Timothy 4:12, NKJV. Paul was conscious that as a young person, Timothy would face discouragement even from those of the “household of faith.” However, Paul encouraged him to continue to be an example to those in his sphere of influence.
The events to which we are being exposed bring discouragement, even to those who are seemingly strong in the faith. The injustices in society, the inequities we face, the racial biases, the violence and crime, can cause feelings of overwhelming hopelessness in our youth and young adults. What type of society will the next generation inherit?
We need to invoke confidence and trust in the Word of God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”—Proverbs 3:5, 6 (NKJV).
Let us hold on to our faith in God. We are being tried on every side. The enemy of our soul seeks to discourage us, God’s people, because he knows that it won’t be long before Jesus Christ returns. Hold on to your faith in God; don’t give up. Help is on the way! Jesus has given us a promise, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”—John 14:1-3, NKJV. Let us encourage each other to hold on to our faith. God’s promises are guaranteed!