The Grad and Abraham

It’s the time of year for graduation speeches. Hopeful words from podiums across the land about following dreams and reaching for the sky and stuff like that. How many grads know that most dreams don’t come true and the sky is generally higher than they imagine? I don’t want to be a sourpuss or throw a wet blanket on the platitudes but I’d like them to know that after “Pomp and Circumstance” almost always comes the “blues.” Which is why I want to ask the Christian kids who are about to graduate: “Will Jesus be enough for you?”

Will Jesus be enough when they hear, “I’m sorry, we hired someone else”? Will He be enough when the boss says, “We have to let you go”? Will Jesus be enough when the doctor tells her she just had a miscarriage? Will He be enough when their spouse tells them, “I don’t love you anymore”? Or how about when the creditors are calling every night? Will Jesus be enough when the doctor says its cancer?

The answer to the question “Is Jesus enough?” is easy; of course He is. But adding two words changes the question entirely and often changes the answer: “Is Jesus enough for you?” For when hopes and dreams crash to the floor, two things tend to happen. The disappointment and tragedy either drives you further into His arms and confirms Jesus is enough; or, the disappointment and tragedy will drive you away, where you begin to look elsewhere. And elsewhere is never a good place to look.

There is a memorable line in Elizabeth Prentiss’s book, Aunt Jane’s Hero, a book written a century and a half ago. The line concerns the aspirations of a young couple wanting to please God. It’s just that God keeps sending them down a road they wouldn’t have chosen:

They had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He had reached it to them it lacerated their hands. They had asked they knew not what, nor how; but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions….Such are they in all ages who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Had they chosen for themselves, or their friends chosen for them, they would have chosen otherwise. They would have been brighter here, but less glorious in His kingdom. They would have had Lot’s portion, not Abraham’s.

In Genesis 13, Abraham gives Lot first choice of the land. Lot chooses with his eye; selecting the fertile and well-watered plain leaving Abraham to head for the rugged hills. The plain, however, was where Sodom and Gomorrah were located; not a good place to live (Genesis 18-19).

The graduate needs to hear the following but so do we. Like Lot, our dreams and goals seem good to us; but God knows better. And that means He intervenes, sometimes sending us things we wouldn’t have chosen. Which brings us back to our question: “Is Jesus enough?” Yes. “Is Jesus enough for me?” He will be if we remember that loss of job and loss of health and loss of love and loss of whatever else; it’s all part of the better portion; the one reserved for all children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7).

Pastor Rich Hamlin
June 7, 2012

Aunt Jane’s Hero by Elizabeth Prentiss is available in Google Books for free here.

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