Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (Common English Bible)
It’s a fact of life: Children grow up! At least that is what we hope for, plan for, and prepare them for. But somehow, while we’re preparing them to move on, we don’t really prepare ourselves for the time when they will no longer be in our houses leaving socks on the floor and dishes in the sink. At this time of the year, our hearts tend to get a little happy, proud and sad, all at the same time.
Graduation time is a time for reminiscing and a time for moving on. It’s funny, but I can’t go through a single graduation ceremony without shedding a little tear. I always have a mixture of elation and sadness at graduations. In fact, last week, as we said goodbye to our rising Kindergartners at the CFUMC Preschool, I got a little misty eyed just hearing the names and watching the young boys and girls come forward proudly to get their certificates. It seems like only yesterday our boys were standing there proudly in their little caps and gowns, listening for their names.
Graduation makes us proud, doesn’t it? We are proud of all the accomplishments of our children. And even when none of the kids are not related to us, we all feel a sense of pride for those we have prayed for, watched grow, and encouraged throughout their lives. Some have fought serious health battles while others have struggled to keep their grades just above the failure line.
As these graduates move on to the next level in their education or life journey, we pray that they will trust in the Lord for all that they face, for all that lies ahead. We pray that they will not rely only on their intelligence and knowledge, but that they will rely on their experience of God, the foundation of Scripture, and the teachings of the Church. We pray that they will come to know the God of journeys – the One who will be with them every step of their journey in life, the One who will direct their paths as long as they trust in God’s ways and wisdom. And we pray that their paths will be straight and clear to them as they continue their education and their life.
But what about those of us who will be staying home as these brave souls head away to their next steps? What are our next steps? My prayer is that we will continue to follow the wise words of Proverbs as well. As we trust in the Lord, we will continue to lift our young people up in prayer, we will encourage them by sending letters and cards, and we will remind them to rely on God’s Word for Wisdom. We will continue to be the example of Christ to them so that if they do happen to lose their way along the winding and sometimes confusing path of knowledge and faith, we will be like beacons to them, guiding them back to their home and life in the Lord.
So whether you’re moving to the next grade or to the next phase of life, or watching others move on, remember to trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t think you know everything, but rely on God for Wisdom, and God will direct your journey.
Rev. Jan McCoy is the Associate Pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.covingtonfirst.org.