Hebrews 11:8 – By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (NIV)
This is the season for graduations. High school students in our part of the world are happily celebrating the end of exams. College and university convocations have recently filled up many calendars. For many, exciting new hopes and dreams are beginning to unfold.
I well remember one particular graduation: getting my driver's license. I had completed a driver's education training course; I had practiced handling my parents' car; I had aced the government-prescribed written test; and — after a second try (when I managed to see all the stop signs) — I had passed the required road test. I had my license, and not a moment too soon, as I was due to start work as Camp Manager at a Christian summer camp.
The camp committee had arranged to purchase a well-used but road-worthy vehicle to serve as the camp car for the summer. On the day I was due to take possession of it, satisfied that I was ready to drive for the summer and armed with my new driver's license to prove it, I eagerly drove to the camp in my parents' car, with mother in the passenger's seat to take their car back home. Arriving at camp, we were met by one of the officers of the camp committee who had picked up the camp vehicle and had the keys and registration ready to hand to me.
What a surprise awaited me! Not only was the vehicle fifteen or twenty years old, and styled accordingly, but it had a standard transmission — complete with clutch and a gear shift on the floor. I had never driven a standard in my life! My big plans to go smoothly sailing down the road very quickly evaporated. I had to go back to "square one" and then and there accept some more lessons. I had to endure several very jerky and bumpy lurches around the property until I mastered the art of getting the vehicle in gear without stalling it. Eventually, I got started down the road, but for awhile I was the least-appreciated driver in town, as I struggled to shift gears at corners, on hills, and in any place where sudden stops or slowdowns required the use of the clutch.
I managed to learn; the car did not fall apart, and the camp groceries and supplies were picked up and delivered as required.
Graduation is often marked by painful new beginnings. Abraham graduated from Ur of the Chaldeans, but only to begin a difficult journey on an unfamiliar road.
The way God calls us to walk, as those redeemed by and given new life in Jesus Christ, often involves new turns and unexpected challenges. Just when we think that we've "arrived", God shows us that we have only just begun.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for the joy of accomplishment marked by graduation. Thank you, too, that endings mark new beginnings, and learning and accomplishment fit us to embark on new challenges. Lead us ever onward, in your holy and perfect will for our lives. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.