Even for adults it can be a struggle to line up our thoughts to the truth of who we are according to our Maker. With all of the conflicting messages barraging teenagers, it must be difficult to maintain a healthy self-worth that is not inherently self-destructive.
You are a young woman and look at women portrayed in magazines and feel shortchanged and insecure and so you throw up after eating to meet that image of beauty. You are a young man at the gym and see other guys your age with bigger builds and feel like you need to have a build like that, too, so you pop pills, hoping to look stronger and therefore, more manly.
There was a teenage boy in particular who lived many centuries ago in a time of war and violence. His name was David, and he was the youngest of eight sons. David helped his father, Jesse, tend the sheep while his older brothers served in the king’s army. The Bible does not say if David experienced isolation and loneliness because of his age; or if he felt repeatedly overlooked by his seven older brothers and suffered from damaged self-esteem. It’s likely, though:
When the Lord sent a prophet to Bethlehem where David lived, He instructed the prophet to anoint a new king to rule His people. The Lord told the prophet that the new king would be one of Jesse’s sons. So the prophet went to Bethlehem and invited the people to come to a sacrifice. Jesse came to the sacrifice with all of his sons except one, young David.
The prophet approached Jesse and seeing the tallest and most handsome of his sons, he felt certain it would be him. But the Lord told the prophet, Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.
David was the last son to be brought before the prophet. He had been left behind to look after the sheep. But God had not forgotten him. He had chosen David to be king, and He made David very great.
Teenager, God has not forgotten you, no matter what you are going through or may have experienced. He knows your thoughts and your heart; he knows your needs and he cares for you. Do not be worried about what He knows. He can forgive you through Christ, who took God’s wrath for our sins. He redeems and he heals.
The Lord does this work in our lives because of who we are to him – precious – worth dying for.
This is a poem written by David, probably inspired when he was out shepherding the flock:
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers –
the moon and the stars you have set in place –
what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that
you should care for us?
For you made us only a little lower than God,
and you crowned us with glory and honor.
You put us in charge of everything you made,
the sheep and the cattle and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky,
the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.
O Lord, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth!
(Psalm 8: 3-9)