Dear Fountainview Class of 2012,
Wow! Can you believe that there are 91 days till grad? That's 13 weeks, or about 3 months.
Before you read any further, I want you to temporarily forget that I'm an assistant dean—and still keep in mind that I have been with you all for the past 7 months of your senior year. Can we work with that? Yea? I'm an alumnus, a graduate of the class of 2011. I've been to school with y'all, laughed with y'all, played music with y'all, and picked up y'all's different ways of saying things. I've worked with most, prayed with some, cried with a few, and had meaningful conversations with many.
So then, let's get to the meaningful stuff.
The children of Israel were travelling in the Wilderness, on their journey to the Promised Land. A great pillar of cloud guided them by day, and a pillar of fire gave them light and protection by night. They could trust the pillar, because they knew the presence of God was in it. Wherever the pillar guided them, they went. Whenever it remained at camp, they stayed. And sometimes, the staying was more like waiting.
You and I are on a journey. God leads us like the pillar of cloud led the Israelites, through gorges and over rocky mountain passes, in deserts and by sweet waters. In any and every trial, God has provided for us, and brought us safely through. He has directed our paths where we should go, when we should go. I know each of you can look back and see how this is true in your own life. Too often we forget.
You know, I find this interesting: many times it is easy to follow God where He leads, but sometimes much harder to wait for Him to lead. I'm sure the Israelites wondered how much longer they had to stay at Mount Sinai after they had waited for almost a year. They wanted to get on to the Promised Land. But even after that necessary time of preparation and learning, when push came to shove, they weren't ready. Oh, how God longed to bring them speedily into the Promised Land! After waiting for so long at Sinai, however, they still complained about the difficulty of the way. Their perpetual stubbornness and distrust of God delayed them even longer, and at the end of 40 more years, they still did not trust God fully.
It is God's will for you to be here at Fountainview. If you don't believe this, then you better pack your bags and leave. God's cloud for you is resting here; this is where He has led you. I know, because I've experienced this myself, that if you look back at what He has done in your life since coming here, you will see threads woven into the tapestry of your life, and glimpses of a beautiful picture. You will see that even the dark threads have their part. You will also see that the picture is far from complete. He has taught you much; He is still teaching you. You have had many trials; I guarantee you there will be more. Last but not least, the many joyful experiences of the past 1, 2, 3, or 4 years are not over yet, either.
And so I appeal to you: Remember where you are.
Remember whose you are.
God has led you here, and you will never, ever find a place like Fountainview again. There may be similarities in other places, but Fountainview is unique.
The experiences you have here you will never have again.
The years you have lived here you will never live again.
(Keep in mind that this is true of any place God leads you.)
God is doing everything He can to make you ready for the next step, and ultimately, ready for the Promised Land. Right now—right here.
Savour it while you can.
Don't let there be any reason for regret.
And when the cloud finally leads you on, trust God. He may stop at the most inconvenient times, or go through the most uncomfortable places, but you can trust and wait patiently for the God who has led you faithfully in the past, and who will continue to do so in the future.
Because He loves you.