There is a sense of desperation and even despair among young people in many Western countries today.

My wife and I were visiting Oslo the other day and passed a young woman in a long, ankle-length, mustard-coloured coat with the words written in English on her back: “We are the kids who feel like dead-ends.”

I have been mulling over those words ever since.  What did she mean?

Perhaps she meant that many young people today feel there is little or no future for them.

I have read that youth unemployment is as high as 50 per cent in some Western countries, supposedly the better-off nations in our world.  That doesn’t seem true of oil-rich Norway.

In my country, Canada, many students graduate from university and are unable to find jobs in their chosen fields.  Some wind up as waiters and waitresses or employed in jobs they could have got without the cost of university education.  Jobs are uncertain, disappearing suddenly unlike in past decades.

Or, perhaps the despair flows from rapid social change – there are no longer any certainties in the West.  Marriages break up, leaving children anxious or bitter.  Addiction to drugs is growing.

It is at times like these that God moves.

The Old Testament tells many stories of the people of Israel turning away from God and chasing other idols or devoting their lives to pleasing themselves.  God allows them to spend themselves on their pleasures.

Then, as they find themselves under attack from outside and their lives threatened, they turn back to God.  Economic and political breakdown leaves them without something to hold onto.  No longer self-sufficient, they realize their only hope is God.

God never promises an easy life.  But he does promise that people who trust him with their lives can be sure he will always care for them.  They will be with him for eternity – a much longer time than the current troubles they are going through.

Those who trust him find a new purpose to life.

As the apostle Paul said: “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)  He lived to see Christ honoured in the world around him.  And he looked forward to being with him forever.

This enabled him to deal with all kinds of hardships – mental and physical – with joy.

For him, life was not a dead-end, but it was filled with hope.








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