Braving the storms of life
Braving the storms of life.
Graduates and parents you have arrived at another significant port in life. Our lives are marked by these kind of ports, these significant points, landmarks if you will that help us to see how far we have come.
Your first of the major ports would be your arrival into the world. With lots of anticipation and very little work on your part you came to this port. It was a big port though you don’t remember it. First steps, starting kindergarten, sports, music, staying overnight at someone’s house, switching school in 6th grade, salvation, starting youth group, going on their first retreat, camp, starting HS, taking an interest in the opposite sex, learning how to drive (kinda), all of these were ports in your life. Some were bigger than others, some you can’t even remember and others you will never forget. The whole way you and your parents have traveled together from port to port. And like many traveling companions different things stick out in your minds despite being on the journey together. I want to congratulate you parents and kids. I know the seas were treacherous at times, you weren’t sure the path you were taking was correct and there was the occasional dispute between the captain – parents- and skipper – child- along the way. But you are here. Some of you are a little worse for the wear, some of you are tired from the sea, and still others of you know the course quite well. Though all of you are glad to reach the port. So to you I say congrats, you’ve made it.
You are all aware that this is not the end, this is not the last port. It’s an important port though because for you because until now you all been sailing towards the same thing. From here you will start to diverge and sail to wherever your path dictates. So for the journey I will give you just a little advice that will hopefully make your journey better.
The most important advice I can give is to remember God. Almost 100 times Israel is commanded to remember their God because it is easy to forget. Depending on what statistic you read between 65%-82% of all students who are active in a church youth group will not attend church more than 4 or 5 times a year within 4 years of HS graduation. Remember the Word that you were taught week in and week out. Remember the commitment you made to God, he holds you to it. Remember the sacrifice he made so you wouldn’t have to suffer eternally. Remember that God’s way is always best though not always “most fun” or “easiest.” So remember God b/c when the sea gets really rough you will plead with God the same plea in Lamentations 5:1 that says “Remember me O Lord, look what has happened to us and how we are suffering.” And I promise God will remember you, though he may have to take you through even rougher waters to bring you to safety, he will remember you.
Second, remember what you parents said. I promise they are not a dumb as you think they are. J They only have your best interests in mind. They have invested so much of their life, money, time, sweat, tears, worry, skill, etc… into you. So don’t believe for one second that they are trying to ruin the life that they worked so hard to give you. Moreover, no matter how old you get Ephesians 6:1 always applies. “Children obey your parents in the Lord for it is right.” Your parents have learned the hard way many lessons in life and they would love nothing more than for you to learn the easy way how to live life wisely.
My last piece of advice is for all of you. It is simple but so very important. Remember the past while you continue to press onward. I understand how you are feeling. 13 years of primary school, 3.5 years to get my bachelors and 5 to get my master’s (which I will be walking next Saturday, thank you…) it is my own tendency to want to stop. Rest on my accomplishments and have a little me time. But that is not what any of us are called to do. We are to always remember the place we have come from. Paul tells us in Eph to remember the detestable state in which we formerly existed. But after explaining that we are to be sure to remember the situations God has brought us through he goes on to tell us how we are act because of what he has done for us. Students, don’t become selfish just because you graduate, in college you are about to enter into a time in your life where you really do some great things for God. Things that you have never been able to do before and you may never be able to do after you have a job and a family. You have the opportunity right now to chart a course for your life that honors God.
Parents, likewise, don’t stop working for Christ. If this is your last child to graduate, you have the unique opportunity to direct your energy in helping others get their own children to this point. Whatever it is, remember what God has brought you through and press on toward the prize, Jesus Christ.
You did it! Sometimes the journey felt like it was too much to bear. Other times the sea was calm and smooth as glass and you wished that that specific moment would never end. Whether it was mutiny, war, storms, winds, and even the eventual sea creature you didn’t even know existed, you braved them all so sit in this port for a while and bask in the sun, enjoy your time here, because who knows what the next journey holds.
Again I say congratulations.