On December 21, 2010 news agencies all over the Bay Area reported that the Oakland Police Department shot and killed 19 year old Obataiye Edwards after investigators reported Obataiye prompted the police to shoot him by pointing a gun at them after a car chase had ended. I don’t know the full details of the report or the history of the young man Obataiye Edwards who was shot and killed, but I do know it’s a sad ending to a young life.
What is going on here in the Bay Area that is causing our youth to commit terrible crimes at such a young age? What does God’s Word say about the times we are living in concerning our youth?
It’s important that we say this young man’s name to be reminded of his humanity, his youth, and his God-created potential that he and a thousand others will never live out. For the thousands of our youth who are murdered, their opportunity and all the possibilities of good they could have contributed to our world is gone forever, not to mention their opportunity to make Jesus their Lord and Savior.
Our youth need the local believers to begin to operate in the ‘spirit and power of Elijah’ to such a degree that their (our youth) hearts experience the love of the Father. When believers begin to reach out to our youth with open arms of love, speaking into their destiny, building trust, and investing into their future, one by one their hearts will turn from disobedience to righteousness.
Many of our youth are fatherless or motherless, which leaves an identity void; such that the enemy is more than eager to fill with violence, rejection, and pain. It’s when the Local Church fails to fill the void of ‘orphans’ with the love of God, that’s when we lose our youth to the enemy.
Every young person needs to hear God’s love, approval, and destiny for their lives. Our young people need someone to tell them that regardless of their situation or circumstance, their destiny was pre-planned by God to be great, healthy, and prosperous. God may not have planned the way they were born or the circumstances they were born in, but He definitely planned their destiny and put within their ‘DNA’ a potential for greatness.
Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version, ©2010)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
As a believer, you have the Spirit of God within you and the anointing to speak into the destiny of our youth and bring about a transformation in their hearts. As a believer, you have been commissioned by Christ to take the good news of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. When you speak the Word of God into a young person’s life in faith, you are literally God’s mouthpiece; God is speaking through you into the hearts and spirits of others.
Never lose sight of the humanity, youth, and divine potential of our young people – no matter how horrible the crimes they may commit or the lives they are living. Remember that God hates sin but He loves the sinners and when you save a young person’s life, you save a lifetime as well.
Pray for the youth of the Bay Area. Ask God to send a troubled youth your way so that you can mentor and minister to their need. Ask God to anoint you to speak His Word into the destiny of a young troubled heart.
Our youth have names, faces, and most of all – they have hearts.
Luke 1:17 (New International Version, ©2010)
17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Matthew 19:14 (New International Version, ©2010)
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”