I’m sitting in my office on the campus of Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan awaiting the start of the 2010 Commencement Ceremony. It is a chilly morning – not what you would expect for this part of the country at this time of the year. But the gray skies and the chilled air will not dampen the spirits of the men and women who will walk across our stage today to receive their degrees. I know many of the students who are participating in commencement today. I have taught them in my courses. I have observed them in fieldwork and student teaching settings. I have watched them participate in sports, concerts, shows, and worship services. I have observed them as they have traveled across our campus. For every one of them today is a significant day – a celebration of a major life achievement. These are the moments that happen far too infrequently and should be savored and enjoyed, because as many will be quick to point out to them, tomorrow is a new day.
Enjoy it while it lasts. Caps and gowns turn into shirts and ties. Homework transforms into work at home. Professors no longer give you tasks – that role is taken by bosses. And that piece of paper – that parchment in the folder that provides each graduate with all of the rights and honors worthy of a bachelors or masters degree will also provide another document – the packet from the lending institution detailing the schedule for repaying their assistance in helping make this dream possible.
Some call it reality. Others say it’s time to pay the piper. Many look at it with fear and dread the uncertainty that it brings. I beg to differ. Tomorrow is nothing more than the day after today. That seems like an extreme simplification, but bear with me on this. Many Christians know that this is the day that the Lord has made, so we encourage ourselves and others to rejoice in this and be glad. How then can we look to tomorrow with anything less than an eager anticipation to see what God has in store for us? Will the phrase change to, “Yesterday was the day that the Lord has made, today is brought to you by stress, worry, fear and doubt?”
Proverbs 16:9 reminds us of God’s ultimate role in our lives as it says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” God brought each and every one of us to the place we currently stand. He gave us our experiences with a purpose – preparing us to be here, ready to do what He designed us to do to further His kingdom. Tomorrow will be no different, except we will possess 24 additional hours of life experience, knowledge, and blessings that will enable us to do what God designed us to do tomorrow. Some may bristle at such a simplistic view of life. Others may be uncomfortable with the notion that God has such an active role in our lives. But make no mistake – God made us with a purpose in mind, that purpose is in line with His perfect will for our lives, and not only will He use us to further His kingdom in every situation but He will bless us abundantly in the process.
“But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” – Isaiah 43:1-2