The Next Stage

Every year I announce names at graduation. The stands resemble an agitated ant hill as our Texas town packs the bleachers to shower their support on seniors who have completed their high school journey. It is a unique blessing to see students I once taught as fledgling freshmen triumphantly troop across the stage and stroll down the ramp toward their future. I often consider what their next stage will be. I envision bumping into them at the local grocery store a couple decades down the road and meeting their spouse and children. I wonder if I’ll teach any of their relatives. I cherish the memories we’ve shared and eagerly await what comes next.

The Lord directs the steps of the righteous, as we are promised in scripture, and I am glad to be a part of a national network of people impacted by the ministry of Chi Alpha. I look back fondly on the memories I created with my brothers and sisters, and marvel at how God led me down the path to my current season. One of my favorite elements of interacting with Chi Alpha Alums is hearing the testimony of how their journeys have transpired after graduation. I love to hear about the next stage.

In the book of Revelation, we draw courage from the passage that assures believers we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. I break that down into what Jesus has done for all, and what He has done for us. We each have a unique story, a singular journey, and a powerful calling. For you recent graduates, I applaud your accomplishment and pray continued success in your next stage. For career neophytes, I am proud to associate with you as we establish our reputation in the workforce and know that God’s faithfulness follows us into our field. For veteran employees and minsters, I hold you in high esteem as an example of steadfast commitment and integrity. For all of us, there are various stages. It’s been over a decade since my whirlwind high school ceremony, and over half a decade since my Texas State University commencement, and in each stage my faith has steadied me in moments of uncertainty.

Wherever you are in your journey, I want to encourage you not to be afraid of the next stage. Some of us fear how quickly it approaches, while others amongst us wonder what’s taking so long. The Lord has a plan for each and every one of us, ministers and marketplace laborers alike. Whether you just hung up your graduation regalia, or you attended a child or grandchild’s ceremony, trust that God is faithful to a thousand generations. He is with you in this stage and the next.

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