Words of encouragement for 2022 graduates

The Standard June 9, 2022

May was the month filled with a myriad of college and university commencements. Last weekend Greene Central celebrated its graduates, while Pitt County high schools will do the same this weekend. At milestones like these, it is typical for parents, grandparents, guardians and friends to offer words of wisdom or advice for their beloved young people. As Christians, prayers for our children, youth and young adults are centered around the hope that they will be built up and grow more and more in their understanding of God’s love for them, while they increase in their love for and service to God.

Dave Frey of the band Sidewalk Prophets wrote a song of simple truths which might be shared by a parent or grandparent to a child, a fiancé to a fiancé or even a friend to a friend. “The Words I Would Say” encourages the listener with these lyrics:

“Be strong in the Lord and, Never give up hope,
You’re going to do great things, I already know,
God’s got His hand on you so, Don’t live life in fear,
Forgive and forget, But don’t forget why you’re here,
Take your time and pray, Thank God for each day,
His love will find a way, These are the words I would say.”

Singer, song writer and theologian Michael Card penned a sweet song for his children entitled “The Sunrise of Your Smile.” The profound lyrics warn and then uplift:

“Reject the worldly lie that says, That life lies always up ahead, Let power go before control becomes a crust around your soul, Escape the hunger to possess, And soul-diminishing success, This world is full of narrow lives, I pray by grace your smile survives. For I would wander weary miles, Would welcome ridicule, my child, To simply see the sunrise of your smile.”

Mature Christians understand that the true measure of happiness is centered around our relationship with God and our obedience to Him as a result of the free gift of grace we receive through Christ Jesus. We want this happiness and joy for our young people. Although life is sure to have difficult aspects, a focus on God and others instead of a concentration on ourselves will provide lasting fulfillment.

Perhaps the Apostle Paul put it best in his prayer for the Ephesians.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)

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