Youth Worrying About Their Future
Rev. Angus Stewart
(and older people) are liable to worry about their future.
Given our old sinful natures, legitimate questions can
easily lead to illegitimate concerns, unhealthy doubts and
damaging, even crippling, fears. Just as “I am prone by
nature to hate God and my neighbour” (Heidelberg
Catechism, A. 5), so we are prone to worry.
“Should I go
to college or university? Which one? Will I get the grades
to get in? What subjects should I study? What courses should
I take? What if I don't like it there? Can I afford the
fees? Will I be able to pay back my student loan? Or should
I learn a trade or serve an apprenticeship?”
should I do? Will it provide enough to provide for my family
(if God gives me one), Christian school tuition, my church,
etc.? Will I even be able to get a job in these economically
unsettled times? Do I have or will I have the requisite
are also prone to worries about dating and marriage. “Whom
should I court? Who would want to date me, since I am
unattractive, unpopular or whatever? Would anyone want to
marry me? I'd probably make a terrible spouse! I'd be no
good in a marriage! How could I cope with children? Maybe,
God is calling me to a life of singleness? If so, what will
to worry about these and other things is present especially
for young people, say, those in their late teens or early
twenties, because you are approaching and entering a period
of transition in your life. You are moving from the security
of living with your parents in the family home into
situations when you have to take more responsibility and
find your own way.
thing we must be entirely clear on is that worry is sin. It
is appropriate and necessary to think and plan for the
future (submitting, of course, to the sovereignty of our
merciful and just Father in heaven). However, anxiety about
the days and months and years ahead betrays a lack of trust
in the goodness and wisdom of our covenant God, for it
contradicts our confession of the loving providence of our
Creator and Redeemer (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's
Scripture promises (concerning the future too!) that “all
things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom.
8:28), we must not work ourselves up with anxiety and fear,
by thinking that events will conspire against us for ill. Do
not, like foolish Jacob, reckon “all these things are
against me” (Gen. 42:36). This is sinful unbelief!
In the middle
of His famous Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), which
explains the calling of the citizens of the kingdom of God,
our Saviour addressed the issue of worry (Matt. 6:24-34). He
forbids us to be anxious about food, drink and clothing (for
ourselves or our future spouses or children), and thus the
jobs required to pay for such things and the education and
training necessary for such jobs.
to Christ's crucial concluding commands: “But
seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and
all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no
thought [i.e., do not worry] for the morrow: for the morrow
shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto
the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. 6:33-34). Believe and obey!
God's Sovereignty and Our Calling
In worrying, we foolishly ignore our human limitations, for
we do not know and cannot control the future. These are
solely divine prerogatives, for Jehovah alone has decreed
and governs all things.
Our calling defines our responsibility. Those in education
are to make good use of their God-given abilities, studying
faithfully, as unto the Lord, not merely man (cf. Eph.
6:5-8). Through confession of our all-too-frequent laziness
and disobedience, God grants us cleansing by the blood of
Christ (I John 1:9).
future training or education, learn about the options
available, discuss the issues with teachers and/or parents
and/or people in these fields and then decide on the basis
of sufficient information. Those who seek God's glory in
making decisions (small or large) in accordance with
biblical principles have no reason to lie awake at night
worrying but should sleep in peace knowing it is in the
Lord's gracious hands.
principles apply regarding a job. What skills do you have?
What are your interests? What training do you need? What
openings are there? Learn about the company and position you
seek before your interview. Do the best you can and leave
the results to the sovereign God. Keep trying, if at first
you don't succeed. The Lord is with you as you truly seek to
serve Him—that is more important than a job, even the
spouse, if God wills you marry, you will. Your calling
meanwhile is to grow in grace so that you are ready to be a
godly husband or wife. Prepare for confession of faith and
make the church central in your life. Attend Bible studies
and go to church lectures. Do not use your increased freedom
to indulge in worldliness!
who can truly confess, “I
am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that
keep thy precepts” (Ps. 119:63) are the young men and women
who will be blessed in singleness (I Cor. 7:1, 7-8),
courtship (as you seek to ascertain if this is the
biblically-qualified person God would have you marry) and in
the covenant of marriage, according to Jehovah's sovereign
purpose. Marriage, like this present world, is temporary,
“but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John
Trust and Pray
While it is wrong to dodge out of or run away from your
responsibilities, heaping up and compounding your problems
and fears is also self-destructive. By God's grace, do not
give in to self-pity or despair, through worrying about the
Instead, trust in the
goodness of the God who holds you, the future and the world
in His hands. Pray to Him through Jesus Christ, “Casting all
your care upon him; for he careth for you”
(I Pet. 5:7). Continually, and especially when you are
feeling anxious, bring all your burdens to the Lord, telling
Him all the things that oppress you and your fears for the
future. Our heavenly Father, like a good parent,
understands, comforts and guides His children.
Psalm 62:8 puts it so well: “Trust in him at all times; ye
people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for
us” (Ps. 62:8). All our cares and worries build up like
pressure in our hearts. Release them through prayer to the
Lord and you will find Him “a very present help in trouble”
(Ps. 46:1), like Hannah (I Sam. 1-2), even through the
uncertain years of young adulthood.