An Encouragement To Graduates
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A famous singer once sang about her desire to give the best of everything she had to her child in these words, “I would… if I could.” Here is a woman’s heartfelt desire to pass on knowledge and life experiences. Indeed mistakes are regrettable and if we can teach our young people about them, then perhaps the same mistakes will not be repeated in their lives.
Graduation is a time to celebrate the success of completing one’s tertiary education but for many graduating seniors, this is also a time that is filled with a great sense of uncertainty about the future and the challenges that lie ahead on this road called life.
The really good news is that life does not begin here but has in fact been in motion for all of us since our birth, and even more precisely since we were conceived in our mother’s womb. The moment we were born, learning began. We learnt to sit, to crawl and then to walk, and not only that we also found ourselves learning to assert our rights rather successfully initially through body language and in no time through spoken words.
The one big difference between an adult and a child in learning which seems to inhibit the adult from stepping out is fear. Apprehension and fear are words to describe worry. When we were little, we did not worry about our future and graduation seems intimidating because in a sense it signifies independence and what independence really means is providing for oneself.
Getting a job to pay for bills while at college is one thing. Embarking on a career which is supposed to last a lifetime and pay for one’s preferred lifestyle is quite a different story. Among so many other tips, we can discuss the importance of a good resume and work attitude, as well as the important financial decision not to get into debt at the drop of a hat but fundamentally if we prioritise the ‘know how’ in life as our key to success and happiness, then it means that very likely for the rest of our lives, whether it is about job and financial security, marriage, parenthood, homeownership, investment plans for retirement, etc., we will rely on information as the method to attain assurance. Logically speaking, it does make sense that careful consideration of information to make good decisions beats ignorance. In fact, it seems foolish not to be prepared with information. Saying this, how true is it that information is power? If indeed information and ‘know how’ is all that important, then the insurance industry is quite redundant.
One of the most interesting books in the Bible which talks about the futility of life’s achievements is Ecclesiastes. There is a precious truth found in this book regarding the importance of being found at the right place at the right time. The world believes in luck and networking. Christians on the other hand can learn from the author of Ecclesiastes who happens to be a very wise man. King Solomon wrote this book when he realised the futility of the cycle of life; the achievements of men without God and the realization that without divine wisdom, we are left only with the best of human efforts to build our own world. We witnessed this happening on 9/11 when the terrorists attacked New York. The Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina are further examples that we really cannot control it all, however accomplished or prepared we are.
When the world wars broke out, it changed the economy of life itself. Our plans to build a house, to enrol our kids to the best institutions and our dream to visit Europe in the summer will all come to a screeching halt in the event of a war in our country. However, we do need to live life to its fullest and we must not let the fear of “what if… ” and the rationale of “what is the point of… ” cause us to be passive in life.
For many people it is important to fulfil their potential and be the best they can ever be for their loved ones and be contributing members in their community. We want our graduates to have a bright sense of tomorrow and above all else, they should be equipped with the certainty that there is a God who is devoted to their needs for the rest of their lives. We may all be living in an uncertain time and whether or not we are armed with the latest in financial affairs or kept abreast with the knowledge of US foreign policies regarding Iran, North Korea, the Russian Federation, etc., because many consider them to be potential nuclear threatening foes, we can rest in the knowledge that the Bible existed before the world.
John tells us the Word became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ and Paul tells us in Colossians that He alone holds everything together. With the power to destroy, Jesus Christ came to lay His life down and took all that came between us and God upon Himself. Many insurance policies term natural disasters as acts of God but the truth is God’s wrath against the sins of man was completely exhausted on His Son when Jesus took our sins upon Himself at Calvary’s cross. Today, Christians can live in the safe and secret place of the Most High as we read in Psalms 91. If Jesus came to give us life, then He is our assurance. The waves roar but He is at rest, awakening only in response to His disciples call for help and on other occasions He taught them to let down their nets and the fishermen received a bountiful harvest. The Lord guided Abraham’s servant in his task to find the right wife for Isaac and He also answered Jabez’s prayer and made him a rich man. Many Christians often think how their lives will turn out is dependent on God’s will for them when the Bible tells us that faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things unseen and that God shall provide for all of our needs in the same measure as He has riches in glory. This should really blow our minds away!
Therefore, do we put our faith in doing the right things based on the information and advice that is available to us or do we put our trust in a divine and almighty God who is a loving heavenly Father to all who believe in Jesus. It may not be possible to give all the advice that is necessary to our graduating seniors, and as the lyrics to a song put it so well “I would, if I could.” However, here are two famous promises from Philippians and the Gospel of Matthew which offer a different perspective on things when waiting and uncertainty seem slightly unbearable. The earlier is written by Paul when he was just about to be imprisoned. These words have proven to be an enormous source of inspiration to many believers because in his darkest hour, Paul thought not about himself but shared openly the ever faithful source of his peace and provision.
“Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you? O you of little faith... but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:28-30,33
We may have heard of people making mistakes but by the divine wisdom and love of God, it is impossible to regret when we put our faith in an eternal God who will not fail to provide and care for His children. In a world where change is ever constant, it helps to put our trust in an unchanging and faithful Saviour who is full of love, mercy and grace.
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