Along with beautiful flowers and bountiful rains, springtime also marks the season of graduations. Many colleges have already held their commencements and Shenandoah County seniors will turn their tassels this coming week.
As the graduates cross this threshold, they embark on a new segment of life’s journey. The future lies vast before them with many opportunities to choose from ranging from higher education to military service to the workforce. Each of these interstates also holds many side roads including many possible colleges and majors, different branches and specialties within the military, and a wide range of job opportunities. Which path should graduates choose?
Although the Bible doesn’t give specific guidance to each person, it does tell us where to find it. In Proverbs, the wisest man who ever lived advised us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” So consultation with our Creator through prayer is the first and most important step to determine the correct path. In Psalm 25:4, David models such a prayer, “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths.” When we sincerely seek his guidance, he’ll provide it.
God has a way of opening some avenues, closing others, and either blatantly or gently forcing the steering wheel in one direction or the other. While it’s important to set goals, chart courses, and work hard toward them, ultimately, we need to surrender each turn to the One who knows what he’s created us for.
God seldom reveals our entire route at the onset, but as we come to each intersection, he provides needed direction if we ask him. Psalm 119:105 tells us that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path, but he generally provides just enough light for the stretch directly in front of us.
We may not know exactly what career to pursue when we enter college, but if we know he’s leading us there; he’ll reveal more as we study. Amazingly, at graduation, he then discloses the next road. And the next after that. Isaiah 30:21 proclaims, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”” That’s God’s GPS.
In Psalm 23, David described God leading him in paths of righteousness. God offers that same guidance for us if we will follow. Since David wrote that, Jesus came to show us more plainly what that righteous path looks like and to lead us in it. Reading God’s word and studying Jesus’ teachings and life will help graduates and all of us to make good decisions.
There are some wrong paths to avoid because of the dangers they lead us to. Although we may not be able to see far enough down every path to determine its end, there’s usually some red flags that warn us of trouble ahead. Ignoring those road signs is unwise and leads to much sorrow and sadness.
How do we avoid such painful mistakes? In Psalm 119:128, the writer declares, “Because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.” Knowing and cherishing God’s ways will cause us to shun evil ones. The very nature of certain decisions often carries with them indications of sinful activities that caution us to avoid those pathways. If we know God’s ways and laws, we will perceive and avoid wrong paths.
Most importantly, we must choose to follow Jesus who warned of a broad sinful way that leads to everlasting destruction and of the narrow one that leads to everlasting life. Regardless of the specific life paths we choose, following Jesus on the narrow road is most important for it leads to eternal blessings. As we obey Jesus, we’ll pray with the writer of Psalm 16:11, “You have made known to me the path of life.” Seek his ways today! Blessings to all graduates, George