This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend my son’s graduation ceremony at Ouachita Baptist University. He completed and received his Bachelor of Music in Worship Arts in August of 2021, but was unable to walk until now because of their graduation ceremony schedule. He could easily have pushed the ceremony aside. He has gotten married since completing his course work and is active in ministry in Northwest Arkansas, but I can unequivocally say that I’m glad he walked. There was a sense of closure and celebration as Riley walked across the stage and had his name announced. We rejoiced in what God has done over the past few years in pulling him through some tough medical issues. We were able to praise God again for all He has done.
I think that is one of the reasons why ceremonies are so important. They provide us opportunities to celebrate the One who provides victory in tough situations. Graduations are just one of many such ceremonies. Don’t be afraid to take a minute and highlight a significant moment in the lives of your students or your own family.
In Joshua 4:1-24, God made it very clear that He wanted His people to stop and mark the great work He had just done. God had led the people of Israel through the Jordon on dry land, and He instructed men to gather 12 stones from the river to create a memorial to the Lord for what He had just done. This marker was to serve a purpose. It was to be there to let the next generation know that God is a promise-keeping God. In verses 21-24 (ESV), the Bible says, “And he said to the people of Israel, When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ’Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
I know, as a youth pastor, graduations can be daunting. I remember one year I had five different ceremonies to attend in a church that was running 125. That is a lot of time spent in plastic chairs and stadium seats. However, I wanted to be there for my students. I cared about them and wanted to celebrate with them. However, not one of those students made it across that stage on their own. Whether it was a teacher, parent, pastor or friend, someone helped them on their journey. We know God is the one that helps us all. Take time to celebrate your graduates this year, but do so by remembering the God who made it all possible.