The Gospel for the Un-Graduated

Unhappy blond young man on gray background

Do you have a child who recently missed an opportunity to graduate, or perhaps didn’t graduate because other life circumstances interrupted his or her progress towards a degree? As a former high school dropout, myself, allow me to speak a few gospel truths that touch on some of the thoughts and emotions your son or daughter may be facing. (These can also apply to anyone who is floundering or feels like a failure.) I’m going to pretend that you (mom and dad), are not in the room. I pray this approach helps you relate to and respond to your kid in a way that draws him or her into the Heavenly Father’s embrace.

Dear _______________:

I don’t know the details of your circumstances or how you’re thinking about them, or even your name. But God does. I was once where you are. I make no presumptions about how you got there. I’m not judging you. And I care.

I’m going to share some things with you, from where I sit now, that I would share with my old high school dropout self if I had the chance. I needed to hear these things when I was in your shoes. I pray you hear the tenor of God’s heart for you, (yes, you!) in them.

  1. God can relate. God can relate to you perfectly when no one else can. He is the Great Sympathizer. He sees you. He hears you. He is for you. You can trust Him. This is so basic, but so important, I’m going to amplify it here:
    • When no one else can listen to you, for whatever reason, God can. God does. God will.
    • When no else can understand you, for whatever reason, God can. God does. God will.
    • When you can’t articulate what’s going on inside because you don’t have the words? God doesn’t need you to. He not only knows what you’re about to say before you say it, He knows what you would/could say.
    • When everyone else is surprised or caught off guard, when they don’t know what to do? God is your constant, never changing, all-knowing, all-powerful, steady-state place of safety and refuge.
    • When no one else has picked you or claimed you, God has.
    • When everyone else seems to ignore or abandon you? God won’t.
    • When no one else can be with you in your moment of need—when no one else can be with you all the time—God can. God is. He always will be.

  2. This event (or non-event) does not define your life. Only your Creator has the right to do that. What He says about you is true whether you believe it or not. His desires for you are good, through and through.
  3. Your circumstances do not dictate or reflect the state of your soul before God. (Check out Jesus. Read up on Job.) Circumstances are good for revealing what’s in our hearts, though. Don’t waste this trial. If you have to go through it, ask God to use it to help you love Him and others more. He will always answer that kind of prayer in the affirmative.
  4. God’s plans are best. His plans for you are always bigger and better, holier and purer, than anything you could dream up for yourself. This is true even if God’s plans for you entail great difficulty.
  5. God can and does relate. But He does more than that: He transforms. Whatever thoughts and emotions are your normal right now—Jesus’ blood speaks a better word to all who trust in Him as Savior.

I don’t know what your story has been or will be. I do know that your life is designed to be a beautiful story about what God finishes. It will include what God finished in and through you and why and how He did that.  It will include things He helped you finish even long after you thought finishing was pointless or impossible. But if you trust in Christ for your very life, your life is much more a story about your finisher and perfecter than it will ever be a story about you. Now here’s the best part: when He sets out to save, He finishes what He started. And He finishes what He started every. single. time.

Having said all this, maybe the aspect of gospel truth that you most need to hear isn’t listed here. Do you know what it is? Will you take a little time with your Creator to search it out?

BJ Rathbun

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BJ is a Midwestern girl at heart who married a Missouri farm boy (all grown up, of course), in 2013. Having worked in higher education and the nonprofit sector since 2004, she now works at Dallas Seminary and the Dallas Zoo. With no kiddos of her own, she enjoys pouring into the kids around her.…
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