A teenager’s world can be chaotic. The question is, how can parents help their teens not only survive, but thrive, in the face of peer pressure, social media dangers, and challenges to their Christian faith?
One of the greatest examples of a teenager who stood strong was David. Before he became king over Israel, David was a shepherd. Culturally, he was insignificant. He was the youngest member of his family, who wasn’t afforded much respect. His older brothers would have inherited most of his father’s wealth and reputation. By every Jewish custom of the day, David should have been relegated to a footnote in history, known only as “David, son of Jesse.”
But God had plans for David.
By the time he was 13 or 14 years old, David spent most of his time herding sheep. But his days in the wilderness were not idle. Shepherds used slingshots to throw stones, and they did it constantly. They threw stones to fend off predators and to move their flocks in different directions. Every day, all day, they threw stones.
Then one day, David went to Israel’s army encampment to deliver food to his brothers. They were face-to-face with the Philistines. And with Goliath, a giant man who openly defied God. The entire army of Israel, including King Saul, fled in fear (1 Samuel 17:24).
With that story as backdrop, Bible teacher Ray Vander Laan encourages teenagers with this: You may feel small and insignificant, but God has gifted you. As you mature and discover the stones God has given you, learn to throw them for His glory. Don’t let haters dissuade you from serving God.
Ray also says, “Throw your stone, not someone else’s. Throw the stone that God has entrusted to you, not so the world may know about you, but so the world may come to know God” (v.46).
Ray Vander Laan is our guest on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Preparing Teens to Bring Peace to Their Chaotic World.” He is a longtime instructor of religion at Holland Christian School in Holland, Michigan. He’s also the host and Bible teacher of our video series That the World May Know, which is celebrating 25 years.
Ray is joining us to help parents prepare their teens to be a witness for Christ in a broken world by living out their faith with purpose and confidence. He’ll inspire your teenager to serve Jesus Christ with a passion and a zeal they may not have yet experienced.
Part of our hope for the future is in the hands of our young people today, so it’s important that we continue to pour into their lives and help them to be faithful witnesses for Christ.
I encourage you to grab your teenager and listen to the program together. You can hear it on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, via Google Podcasts, or take us with you on our free phone app.