This year has seen university students lives turned upside down, with final exams taken online and graduation ceremonies cancelled. It's a hard time for the class of 2020, and it's likely they're processing lots of difficult emotions. Here, Rich Wilson of Fusion encourages graduates to walk with Jesus in their pain and despair.
Welcome to a new beginning, a new era and new opportunities. To quote a famous song "It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day. It’s a new life. For me. And I’m feeling...".
And that’s the problem: we aren’t sure how we are feeling about the ‘new’ when the ‘old’ was serving so many so well; it was enjoyable, purposeful and yet it was left unfinished. The climax of the university experience has been reduced to living back home with parents or alone in a student house and submitting an online report to gain a degree. Celebrations, gowns and mortar-boards left unplanned, un-hired and un-thrown. Memories left unmade and many hopes unrealised.
For many there is the painful journey back to the University, not to celebrate, but to empty student rooms, houses and halls now eerily quiet. Those rooms pay homage to the student who once lived there and the life they used to live. Emptying them feels like a funeral and packing them up like a burial. The class of 2020 has been robbed of an ending to the student years and forced to let go of university life prematurely. Goodbyes haven’t felt good.
When the disciples were graduating from their three and a half years of being taught by Jesus, their worlds were similarly turning upside down. As they processed their disappointment with the present yet hidden Jesus they confessed dreams dashed ‘but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel’ (Luke 24:21). The road out of education like the disciples on the road to Emmaus is filled with uncertainty and questions. We had hoped….
However, although you have no choice but to walk this road, you do have a choice about who you walk it with, and Jesus is present and eager to walk with you. He knows where it is going even if you don’t and is committed to your good and giving you life to the full as you trust in him. The road may not be the direct route you were hoping for, but direct routes are rarely fulfilling or transformative. God thinks too highly of you to rush the divine work he is doing in your life.
So life as a graduate is starting small, hidden and unnoticed. The good news is this is God’s territory, his training ground. If you were tempted to become self made, surrendering to God’s training scheme for your life just got easier. God loves to work with those who have been dealt a rough deal, the disadvantaged and the downtrodden. Don’t be tempted to believe that your start to life after education will define your destiny. Don’t be tempted to posture yourself as a victim. Don’t be tempted to wait passively until something comes your way.
The reality is life initiates us all, for most the lessons and disruption come over years and decades, a slow tempering of ego and reordering of priorities. However, for the class of 2020 this is a condensed rite of passage, which if embraced will serve to deepen the call of God on your life. This is your time to wrestle and contend. First for yourself and then for working with God in remaking the world as he intended. ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’ (Is 43:19). God is getting this generation ready for something that the previous generation weren’t able to do.
The class of 2020 is the honoured guest at the banquet in Psalm 23. Surrounded by enemies – doubt, fear, worry and lies there is a place at God’s table where you get to feast. And as you pull up your chair to take your place the King anoints your head with oil. Graduation may have been underwhelming but God wants to anoint you for what is next and for some of you a life’s work. Will you take your place? Will you trust God’s timing and leading? Will you allow yourself to be anointed in the midst of uncertainty?
Those who do will be marked out by God and leave their mark on society for generations to come.
So this is a new day and it is a new dawn and you might not be feeling good. However, it is a new day that the Lord has made and he is calling you to get up, to fling wide your curtains and let the light of the sun fill your environment, awaken your senses and like the disciples on the road to Emmaus find your heart beginning to burn within you.
Class of 2020 this is your time!
Rich Wilson is movement leader of Fusion. For help with the next steps and pursuing calling visit https://acalllessordinary.org/