Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go"1 (Lyrics)
Sadly, I have read of many Aboriginal and Inuit teens attempting suicide in remote northern Canada. They experience depression at twice the rate of the rest of Canada.
Many years ago, I worked in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, helping street children experience being loved as they attended our house group. We had a great time together, learning the stories of Jesus and working out how each of them could take things home that were worth sharing. There were great stories of caring and love for each of them. If they didn't feel wanted at home, they relaxed in our home and enjoyed taking part with the group.
These days, I watch a television show called Tribal Trails, which has several Aboriginal people telling personal stories of how their Christian beliefs affect their daily lives. They share their experience of the wonderful love of God. It offers a message of hope, which needs to be spread abroad. But in today's modern society, there are many barriers to the proclamation of the good news of God's love.
Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
In many communities, there are increasing numbers of homeless youth on the street in a sorry state, living without hope. They can't get along with their parents at home, and either they leave because they are abused, or they are kicked out because they are rebellious. They experience a constant loss of self-esteem as family and friends mistreat them and they are bullied. Behind many of these problems lie drug and alcohol abuse. What can we do to help them?
Many communities have begun shelters for homeless men and women, but because teenagers are minors, regulations dictate that they are not eligible for adult homeless shelters. So they are particularly vulnerable and need extra help, which is usually missing in today's society. In a few communities, Christian youth organizations have opened houses that reach out to these sad and depressed youth with the love of God, which they have to realize and accept, in order to give them hope. To help them, we need to get involved with ministry to these homeless youth, because otherwise, nothing will change. If there is no outreach to these teens in your community, you need to help organize one.
Let us pray every day for our young people. Yes, the Lord can do miracles. We need to trust in His Word for all of us. If you are depressed or know someone who is, turn to God! He will lift you up and help you to experience His amazing love.
We all need the love of God in us. We can offer ourselves to serve others in whatever way we are needed. Are you depressed today? Try singing or saying this hymn. It will fill you with God's love.
- O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
– George Matheson
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for those who are depressed and lose faith in themselves and You. Reward them with Your love and give them hope. Lord, we commit this day to You. Use each of us, we pray, to reach people who are depressed and lonely. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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A great challenge Iris. God bless.
Thank you so much for your devotional.
As I began reading today I read your devotional and the mention of Tribal Trails. Thank you so much for those comments. I am a regular listener to and supporter of Tribal Trails. I feel as if many of those aboriginal Christians are my dear friends. I will join you in prayer for Aboriginal youth.
Thank you, Iris, for sharing your thoughts on this sad state of affairs. Years ago as a young woman, my husband and I worked with at risk teenagers. At the time we were without a deep abiding relationship with Christ Jesus. We had compassion, but nothing life changing to offer them. Thus what we had to share was temporal, fleeting. Teens with no strong loving home sadly kept engaging in the same old flawed behaviour never making the one choice that would truly have saved them. I still pray for them these days trusting the Lord Jesus to rescue them. Thanks again and Blessings.
I heard on Huntley Street that the suicide rate is 30 times higher in the Far North of Canada among the youth.
I realize that in your talk today you were referring to depression.
Huntley Street organized a one day collection of funds for Bill Prankard Association which works with these young people.
They set the target at $50,000 for the day and they received over $100,000!
This money will go a long way to help the terrible problem. Children as young as 6 years old are taking their own lives. This boggles my mind.
They have not had time to live.
I enjoy your contributions to PresbyCan.
Blessings in 2017.
I am always blessed with your devotionals: May God continue to bless you and make you a blessing.
When my wife and I were first married, we lived in a Forest Ranger station in Alberta.
During the week my wife started a girls and boys club with games, singing, a bible story and a little snack. The kids loved it, but it wasn’t long before we were checked out by the local resident Priest from the Catholic church.
He encouraged us to continue and if we wished we could join them for their special times at the church. And we often did.
We never quit telling them the gospel stories and they would often join us in our own family times together as we bowed our heads and thanked God for supplying our needs and keeping us safe everyday.
What a joy to know that many of them established good stable homes, when they grew up.
God only needs our lives, to be available to Him and He guides us into truth that we can share(not preach) to those He brings into our lives.
God bless you Iris.
Thank you, Iris, for this wonderful and timely devotional. A wake up call!
Covenant House in Vancouver and Toronto do great work with youth. Originally a Christian outgrowth of the Catholic church, their staff and “clients” now come from all walks of life, but I daresay their mission is, at it’s core, Christian.
Thank you again for your devotional, and for the work you’ve done with young people.
I just came across today your very insightful devotional. It applies of course all year round, but the Christmas card season makes it challenging. Thanks!