Local faith leaders connected with EC were asked to share spiritual advice for teenagers struggling during this time of uncertainty. Here are their edited responses, organized in categories:
On Negative Emotions
“Struggling with the new normal is normal. All of us are struggling to wrap our heads around what life is like. We will get through this, but there will no doubt be a “Before Coronavirus” and an “After Coronavirus.” The transition period is the difficult time. The best thing we can do at this point is take it moment by moment and day by day. We may discover that there are aspects of the new normal that we actually like better! (As Pabbie said in Frozen 2, “When one cannot see the future all they can do is the next right thing!”)” - Pastor Mulder
“Own your emotions – if you need to cry, go ahead and cry. If you need to yell – go out in your backyard and yell (Psalm 13 is a great Psalm to yell!) Try not to yell at the people you love, however, because they’re in this with you. Also, talk to people you love and trust. Get exercise when you can. We can give thanks that this is hitting us in Spring-time and we are able to get outside. And find (at least) five things to give thanks for each day.” – Pastor Stegink
“I know that it’s easy for all of us to think about all that we feel like we’ve lost. Maybe we feel like we have or will lose at least a portion of a school year, maybe we had to miss out on trips. For senior students, there may be an even greater sense of loss. I think the only way to combat that is to remember that we’re all in this together. Everyone has had to sacrifice something. When we find ourselves feeling discouraged about what we feel like we lost, I think it’s helpful to remind ourselves that there are people around us who are with us in it. Some have lost more than us, some have lost less, but everyone has lost something.
Remember that we are in this thing with a community of people around us, whether it’s our family, friends, church community, American community, or worldwide community. That helps make it just a little bit easier.” – Pastor Mulder
“It strikes me that this is the most uncertain that most of us have ever been, and many of us will have seasons of doubt. We’ll wonder why this is happening or whether or not God really has things in control. I find a lot of comfort in knowing that the reason our faith comes out the other side of trials like this as “pure gold” is because we realize that even when times were difficult, it was God holding onto us, and not the other way around, that gets us through. It’s okay to doubt. God’s hold remains firm!” – Pastor Mulder
“I would encourage them that though things seem bleak, this is not the end. There’s a song by Sandra McCracken with the lyrics,
“But if it’s not okay / then this is not the end
And this is not okay / So I know, this is not, this is not the end.” (from the song "Fools Gold")
The ultimate end is not COVID-19. The ultimate end is God making all things new; God making all things right. Threats, fear, sickness, pandemics, quarantines … online education … these things are not ultimate. God is ultimate and God is holy and good. God delights to show mercy and his love endures forever.
We may have to go through trials and troubles, difficulties and disasters, but these things don’t win in the end. Jesus has overcome. Jesus’ words in John 16.33 encourage us: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“Therefore we do not lose heart,” the apostle Paul writes. “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4.16-18).” – Pastor Johnson
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