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We can always rely on God

Tis the season for graduations.

Hampden-Sydney just had two, this year’s graduating class and the previous year’s class that got bumped because of COVID. I believe that Longwood is having their graduation this weekend.

Dr. Pete Smith

My own oldest daughter is graduating later this month from Roanoke College. Lots of new graduates are emerging into the world in the potential of all the opportunities that are before them. I have heard this is a good time to be entering the workforce with opportunities in the marketplace and the broadening recovery from the shutdown, but there is no getting around the fact that it is a big change to navigate. Some of these folks are pretty nervous and some are pretty excited.

I remember my own trepidation with job opportunities that would have pulled me far away on my own. I was not ready for that at the time. Sometimes it is fun to wonder how things would have been different.

Change, though, is one of those things about life that drives us a bit batty. We both look forward to it and try to fight it strenuously. That new grandbaby could be a most welcome change; that weakness from advancing age is the kind of change that we deeply resist. It is all part of life, though. As people who find a shared foundation in the faith of God, the same God of yesterday, today and tomorrow, we would think that the changes of life are something we receive with confidence. My sense is that our times of change are also supposed to be times to find God’s love in special ways, times of growth through grace and times to see faithfulness with deeper trust. Whether we feel the change is positive or negative, our God is love throughout it all.

Psalm 46 opens with the assurance that even if there were natural disasters, we would still not fear because God is our refuge and strength, and that never changes. Literally everything else does change. I have heard that life itself is change, but through it all, we can rely on the one who stands eternal. This pandemic has pushed us to the limits of change, and I suspect we will never get back to exactly where we were before. We will live with new ways of living and doing the rest of our lives, and many of us will carry the scars of this time, but the same God is with us.

If there is anything our graduates need to know as they step out into life in greater ways is that they are truly not alone. God is with them and for them in blessing. We are with them and for them in blessing. Together, we can face an uncertain tomorrow, even a shifting today. If we keep the spirit of love that reflects God’s heart, we will make it through anything together, and the one who designed this world and all good things for us will continue to be our guide.

May God bless our graduates and provide support and encouragement for them.

REV. DR. PETER SMITH is the transitional pastor for Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at pastorfpc@centurylink.net.