Ephesians 2:10 – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
On my desk are a few invitations to High School graduation parties in July. It is interesting to see how much creativity and work has gone into planning and ‘pulling off’ such celebrations amidst the current situation of social restrictions. Perhaps it is not so different than the very unique ways in which especially High Schools have tried to recognize and honor their graduates.
This has been a tough year for graduates across the board. In our own family we have been distressed that we could not attend our grandson’s High School graduation but had to watch on YouTube as he and the other 630 plus students in his class received their diplomas while sitting socially-distanced and face-mask-covered on a football field. With an uprising in COVID-19 cases in Texas we not only missed the three times rescheduled graduation ceremony but now also had to cancel our family celebration. Understandably, Ismael wonders what measures yet need to be taken before he can move out east to attend classes at the University of Virginia.
While the memory of my own High School, College and even Seminary graduation is clearly fading, I well remember that there is a lot of hard work that goes into finishing a degree. There are lectures to attend and books and articles to read. There are notes to be taken and papers to write and all kinds of deadlines to meet. And then, when everything has been finished to your school’s satisfaction (and no pandemic delays or cancels life!), there is graduation day and the prospect of the road ahead.
The victory on the face of a graduate holding up her diploma, throwing his cap in the air, beaming at her parents, or clenching his diploma, far outshines dire job market predictions. Graduates look ahead with great expectations, confident in their skills and knowledge, ready to take on the world. And why not? The adrenaline rush that comes with a task fulfilled after much work needs to be enjoyed.
In the Bible, God comes right out and says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). It pleases God when we ask for clarity on those plans. He adds, inviting us to trust Him, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2b). Meanwhile, He teaches us through the ups and downs, the ins and outs, as He “graduates” us from one circumstance to another.
As God shapes us through life and its transitions, He molds us into who He wants us to be. Lovingly, with patience and great skill, He applies His touch to our lives. “We are the clay; You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8b). For those finishing their studies, starting a new job, getting married, going into the military, or poised at some other one of life’s many starting points, now is a good time to ask God’s direction in all that you do. “Show me Your ways, LORD, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5).
So here is to all the recent graduates! As you meet and know them in your own lives, pray for them that they may rejoice and acknowledge the great and important blessings they have received through their God-given talents. Pray for their fulfillment in serving God and His people with those gifts, and their joyful contribution to a world in need of exactly what they have to offer! We shall pray that they will walk with confident faith in Christ Jesus as their Savior, entrusting their very lives to Him who has saved them for this world—and the next. Amen