Tonight we are celebrating the graduating seniors at our church. It is an honor to look toward the future with them and to pray over the life they are going to lead as adults. The future is a vast world of the unknown. You can approach it in caution, fearful that everything you once knew will change for the worst and you will only find destruction in your wake, or, you can approach it with hope, knowing that you have a God who is looking out for your best interest and with that comes a hoard of people who are praying for you and there to support you, no matter what.
As I am attempting to improve and hone my skills as a writer, I am reading material that gives encouragement from successful Christian authors. It is the harsh realities of the world that will tear a young budding artist to pieces and push them into the monotone life of corporate America. Thick skin is something I have always had a difficult time developing. I want people to read what I write and I equally want their honest opinion as well as their approval. It is difficult to start out and know that people will tear apart your style, your approach, your very ideals. But the difference that comes in looking at a Christian market as opposed to the secular market is that they can not reproach my desire or the hope that is laced throughout my words.
Every student who graduates while attending church has heard of Jeremiah 29:11,
“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.”
It is that hope that inspires students to strive toward their dreams. It allows them the freedom to make mistakes because God knows what our future holds. But while stating this verse by itself carries inspiration, understanding it in context brings it to new light, and I personally love the next couple verses even more.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14)
When Jeremiah wrote down this prophesy from the Lord, He was speaking to the Israelites. They had been disobedient time and again and so God listened to their request and stepped back. They wanted to do things their own way, not God’s way. So even though He had rescued them from captivity in Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land, they wanted more, they wanted “freedom.” But it was that freedom that enslaved them again. It caused them to be scattered out of the Promised Land. This passage (context includes around verse 6-16) is promising the Iraelites, God’s chosen people, that He knows their future. He has a plan for them and when the call out to Him and seek Him, He will be there. I can’t imagine a promise with more hope.
In the same way, to all of our seniors, I know that God has a perfect plan for each one of your lives. He has inscribed it with hope and with promise and with direction. I implore you to continue to seek God. To live a life that reflects Him and shows the world who holds your heart. In doing this, God will be faithful to honor and bless you in more ways than you could ever imagine. Allow Him to remain active and alive in your life. By doing this, the same promises that God has for the Israelites thousands of years ago, is also a promise to you as His child.
My closing thoughts to you are from a verse that changed my heart when I needed Him the most and has become my life verse. Take it, trust it, and live the life that God has planned for you. I can’t wait to see what you do for Him!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.