It’s “that time of year”.....congratulations, graduates! Whether it’s high school, or college, or community college, or trade school or academy, or whatever....Congratulations! Enjoy your accomplishment and bask a bit in the feeling of reaching a milestone. As you look out toward the road leading into the next seasons of your life, I offer you a few words of advice from the experiences from my “road-going”.
The road leading to fulfilment is rarely easy.
I was listening to a grandparent sharing their hopes and wishes for their grandchild who had just graduated from high school and talked a bit about “Joy” and how to find it. My wish for you is that you’ll know a deep and abiding sense of Joy in your life. I believe this deep joy is found in a sense of fulfillment and purpose which gives life meaning. The road can get very hard at times. Other roads will look very appealing to you when you are weary, discouraged, confused, angry, tempted by some desire, or grieving. They will appear much easier. But here’s a truth: The path of least resistance is often the path of least reward. Jesus says, “Follow me.” As you follow Christ, you’ll discover the “Joy” this grandparent was speaking about.
As people of faith, we are a pilgrim people: called to sojourn and discovery in grace & justice! While many may say, “life is all about the journey”, it’s not a call to meander meaninglessly. Do enjoy your sojourn but be mindful. Otherwise, you might just meander off a cliff or into quicksand. Go for joy. Even though the road to it can be tough going at times. Don’t settle for piddly pleasures. Seek the prize of a life lived in God’s grace. Trust God’s promises, not “your own understanding”.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge God and God will make your pathways straight.” Not a bad bit of advice! In a world of “alternative facts”, “fake news”, deep fakes, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) – it’s best to follow Christ! God is with you, Jesus goes before you so that you may follow, and the Holy Spirit is within you! Consistent Bible reading isn’t about your performing a ritual for God’s approval, It does have everything to do with your spiritual health (if not survival). Scripture can keep you sane, because it tells you what’s real. It gives you the big picture. You can learn scripture’s truth of God’s love and the promise that nothing can overcome it.
It may at times seem like God’s promises are not real or will not come true. At those moments — I can’t stress this enough — Lean into the promise of God’s love and follow Christ even more purposefully!
Be proactive in Prayer and Persistent in Discipleship.
Ask God for everything. Be constant in conversation with God (that is what prayer actually is: conversing with God). Speak and listen. Remember the Holy Spirit is literally your Advocate! God is always seeking the best for you and God’s gracious initiative is always engaged in your life – even before you were aware of it! God literally invites you to take the initiative: “ask, and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open...” Be persistent in following Christ. In the journey there will be storms - but remember, you follow the one who stilled the storm!
One need not be graduating to have these thoughts be true. Whoever you are, wherever you find yourself in life, no matter the milestones you may have reached or are in the season of trying to reach, may God bless you and may you know the love, the presence, and the power of God’s all-surpassing love.
Be God’s, Pastor Jim