Recently, we read news about some Indonesians who moved to Syria to join ISIS, many of whom were young people. It got me thinking: why do radical groups target young people? Or rather, why do young people join these groups? Could it be because they fill a need or desire in these young people?
When I was in high school, I used to wonder what my life was about. It started me on a journey to learn new things which I thought could satisfy me. Keyboard today, flute another day. Ushering one day, singing another.
Young people are always on the lookout for new adventures and challenges. Today they study a certain major, a few years later they want to change their major. Today they work on a project, tomorrow they want a bigger project. Today they get a job in a big company, soon they want to work in a bigger company with a higher position. Today they try smoking, next they want to try ecstasy. When will this pursuit be over? Till they find something that can really satisfy them.
The question then is: what can satisfy young people? Ecclesiastes 12:1 tells us it boils down to a relationship with their creator. “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them.’” There is nothing wrong with looking and exploring for new things, but if it leads us to things that go against God’s intended purpose for us, we will regret it.
My prayer is that Indonesian young people will know their Maker, know the purpose for which they were created, and not be trapped in the things that will cause them to live their lives in vain.