Eldon Peterson column mug

Eldon Peterson

With Utah State University graduations behind us and high school graduations approaching, many are stepping into uncharted territory. Obviously, graduates are looking to an undefined future, but graduation means changes for their families too. New beginnings, challenges, empty nests – maybe one of those words reflect what you are facing.

How do you respond to an uncertain future? With hope or with fear and trepidation? For both graduate and parent, graduation signals change. While the graduate must make decisions about if they are going to pursue more schooling or if they will enter the workforce, their parent will need to respond and encourage their sons and daughters in their decisions.

If the graduate chooses more schooling, they must decide what they will study and why. If it is work, what kind of job will they seek? Something to earn some cash or an entry position into a career that they desire? These decisions can be overwhelming for the graduate. The same is true for their parents. Will the graduate be moving out and establishing their own home? Will they live at home while they search for work or further their education? So many choices.

As parents of a graduate, we understand the mixed feelings that graduation brings. While it may be tempting to resist the inevitable change, isn’t this the step that we have raised our children to take? We know that for our child to grow to maturity it requires us to love and encourage them to step out on their own. Love calls us to do what is necessary, not what is easy.

As I ponder this, I am reminded of the familiar words of John 3:16, “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but have eternal life.” It tells us that it was the Father’s great love for the world — you and me — that placed Jesus on the cross. Contrary to popular thought, Jesus didn’t come to show us how we were to live, but He came to become the necessary sacrifice for our sins. “God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him.” (3:17) God sent His Son so that we could gain something that we needed but could not attain without His stepping in – eternal life.

Our only means of salvation is through the death of Jesus. Paul reflects on this saying, “But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8) Notice how it is God’s love for us that caused Him to act. He sent His son to die for our sins so that we might gain eternal life if we will believe.

Consider the cost of letting go. A parent can be overcome by the fears of “what if?” As a result, they may attempt to strengthen their grip on them rather than loosen it. But we must know that love requires us to let them go to allow them to discover the life that God has given. God gave His son over to death so that we might find life. It’s easier for us to let go when we know the outcome is greater.

We are the object of God’s love. It was because of his great love for us that He sent His Son to die the death we deserved because of our sins. The Bible testifies that because Jesus never sinned, He alone could become the necessary sacrifice for our sins. In going to the cross, “God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us!” (2 Corinthians 5:21) I love the way this translation paints the picture of what God did for us so that we might become righteous, acceptable to God.

Again, for the graduate and their parent, the uncertainty of the future can be daunting. But if we will look to God, who loves us, who gave His Son so that we might know forgiveness, then we can face the future with expectancy. Just as a future hope calls the graduate to leave their home and calls their parents to let them go, only by looking to the hope of eternal life can we embrace the future.

As you face future uncertainties, trust in Him who gave His Son so that you might gain eternal life.

Eldon Peterson is pastor of the Cache Valley Bible Fellowship. His column appears on the Faith page. He can be reached at by.faith@outlook.com.

Eldon Peterson is pastor of the Cache Valley Bible Fellowship. His column appears on the Faith page. He can be reached at by.faith@outlook.com.