Graduation. It’s that time of year again: seniors everywhere are winding down their college careers and trying to figure out what comes next in their lives. I graduated from college almost two years ago, but I feel like I’m graduating all over again. I’m experiencing a graduation of sorts in that I’m leaving the city I’ve lived in for the last two years. I’m saying goodbye to the friends I’ve made, the church family I’ve gained, and the city I’ve grown to love. I hate goodbyes, and all of my friends know how much I hate change. But I am learning that change is biblical, and it is good.
God makes us many promises throughout the Bible, but He never promises us that life will be easy or change won’t ever come. He doesn’t promise a comfortable, change-free life; in fact, He promises us that choosing to follow Him will lead to troubles and hardships, but Jesus said, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). This verse has been popping up a lot lately, and when that happens, I strongly believe it is the Lord trying to teach me something (sometimes I’m so oblivious to Him that I need Him to hit me over the head with something!).
The future is a scary place, and fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. I know that from personal experience. In college I had no idea what my post-college life would look like. I had no idea what to major in, which meant I had no idea what kind of job I would have after graduation. I remember breaking down my sophomore year because I had no idea what I was good at or what I liked to do. I had no idea how to invest well in my college years so that I would have a plan for post-graduation. But even people with a five-year plan still don’t know what the future holds. That’s the whole point of the future: it’s unknowable until you’re actually living it, and at that point it becomes the present.
The future may be scary and change may be hard, but Jesus says that it is good. In John 14, Jesus promises to send the disciples the Holy Spirit once He’s gone. The disciples start freaking out because they can’t imagine life and ministry without Jesus. But Jesus tells them in chapter 16 that it is better for them if He leaves and sends the Holy Spirit to replace Him. “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). Now, I’m not comparing myself to Jesus and saying that it’s good for me to leave for other people’s benefit the way it was good for the disciples for Jesus to leave. But I am saying that change is a good thing because God uses it. He uses change in our lives to grow us and teach us– to make us more like Him. If we stayed in the same place or remained the same person, we are not becoming more like Christ and we are not doing what the Lord has called us, as believers, to do. Change and goodbyes are hard because they force us to rely on the Lord. They bring glory to the Lord on the other side because we are able to say that we made it through the change not in our own strength.We are called to share the gospel with others and glorify God in everything we do.
I don’t think change will ever stop being scary, but I do know that the Lord is using change, big and small, to teach me and to glorify Himself.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33