Seth Udinski, FISM News
According to a recent CDC report, 57% of teenage girls in the United States felt persistent hopelessness and sadness in 2021.
This number was part of a report exploring youth behavioral trends in the second decade of the 21st century, from 2011-2021. The 2021 number represented a dramatic uptick since the beginning of the decade, when in 2011 only 36% of teenage girls felt consistently hopeless.
Additionally, 42% of all high school students in 2021 felt persistent hopelessness. The number of LGBTQ-identifying participants who reported persistent hopelessness increased dramatically to 69%, compared to only 35% of heterosexuals.
Males also experienced an uptick in the ten-year period, though both the starting and finishing numbers were dramatically lower than those of females. In 2011, only 21% of teenage boys answered that they experienced consistent hopelessness, a number that rose to 29% in 2021.
A number that is related to the representation of persistent hopelessness but even more troubling is the number of teenagers who seriously considered suicide.
For teenage boys, the number only barely increased between 2011 and 2021, with 13% answering “yes” in 2011 compared to 14% in 2021.
But for teenage girls, the ten-year jump was drastic. In 2011, 19% of teenage girls seriously considered suicide, compared with a shocking 30% in 2021.
Author’s Biblical Analysis
We are reminded here that feelings are not always facts, and emotions are not always in line with the truth.
That being said, feelings are very real, and feelings of depression and hopelessness can be detrimental, especially when they ravage the thoughts of children. This becomes even more true when those children, or anyone for that matter, experience firsthand the harsh realities of living in a fallen world.
Therefore, where do we turn? Our answer to hopelessness is, and will always be, the great anchor for our souls: Jesus Christ.
In some sense, there is a certain way in which those who feel hopeless are actually on the right track. Please do not misunderstand me to think that I condone hopelessness, I do not. That being said, when we look at our achievements, our goodness, and our self-worth, and we feel hopeless about obtaining true happiness on our own, we are not wrong. Our efforts, apart from Christ, should not leave us with a false sense of pride.
Sinners without Christ, trapped in their sin, are truly hopeless. This is where the gospel breaks in to shine like a piercing light in the darkness.
When we realize our hopelessness without Christ, that is when our hearts become most fertile to trust in Him. In ourselves, we have every reason to be hopeless. In Christ, we have every reason to possess true hope.
Why? The answer is simple: Christ has accomplished the victory over sin on our behalf and presents us with this free gift of salvation; a gift that is ours if we simply repent of our sin and believe in His name.
Believer, if you are feeling a sense of hopelessness, take courage. As the German reformer Martin Luther once preached to himself when his mind was ravaged by the accusations of the devil: you have a Savior, whose name is Jesus Christ, and where He is, there you will be also.
I would pray and hope that the many young people highlighted in this report would not seek a cure for their hopelessness in manmade means, popularity, or success. Those places will not satisfy. The only hope for sinners, in life and in death, is in our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrews 6:19-20