Pomp and Unusual Circumstance

A Word to the Class of 2020

You’ve been looking forward to May 2020 for the last 4 years, maybe even longer. The script you were given for these last four years didn’t call for this scene. At all. Now what?

Nobody really likes a cliffhanger. The Empire Strikes Back needs Return of the Jedi. There must be an Endgame.

Here you are at cliffhanger instead of a ceremony. It may seem like you’re off-script, but you’re really not. God sees life the way it is. His Scriptures have pages full of grit, pain, and tragedy from life on this planet.

So believe me when I tell you: God gets it. He really does. He knows what it’s like to lose, and He knows what it takes to win. Always remember in God’s economy, death always come before resurrection.

Maybe you’re angry. Maybe you’re sad. Lots of friends and family are probably hurting right there next to you. And let me tell you, it’s ok to feel the loss. Jesus’ tears give us the permission to feel our losses too. (John 11.35)

But soon you’ll need to make some choices. Nobody can choose for you, though your parents and your friends may try. Can I offer you a word of advice?

Only you can choose how to take this loss. Feed empathy, not entitlement. If you keep this loss in your rear view mirror, telling yourself what you deserve because of what you didn’t get, the pain will always seem closer than it really appears. Everyone has loss. What should shock you is that Jesus set aside his (deserved) entitlement, and chose empathy. He chose to enter our loss; to lose with us and ultimately for us. His empathy makes our eternity possible; he won us to Himself. In life, empathy earns something a degree never will: rich relationships.

Only you can choose where to go from here. The will of God is not a mystery. Jesus wasn’t being cryptic when he said “follow me.” Take the next step. In your twenties, keep your eyes on the Scriptures & peeled for people who are living it ahead of you. If their life looks something like the grace & truth of Jesus, take note and lean in. Find a job in their city, join their church, put nothing between yourself and learning a life of courageous faith from wise and gracious people on the way of Jesus.

Always remember, following Jesus is not something you drift into. You wouldn’t run a marathon by accident. The way of Jesus is a choice. Set a course that honors your King (which means you may need a refresh on what your King cares about), then above all: go. Trust God to direct your steps.

Class of 2020, welcome to life. We never know what we’re walking into, but we must decide what we’re heading toward. Let it be the Kingdom of Jesus. You won’t regret the risk. He’ll see to it.

Published by Jared Stacy

Jared is an American Pastor, writer, and PhD Candidate in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

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