Four years seems like ages ago. The wide-eyed, nervous 18-year-old moving into Jester for the first time. That awkward meeting of my freshman roommate I found through a random Facebook group called “UT Class of 2018.” The vision of my proud yet overbearing parents purchasing books for me at the Co-op. Copious amounts of pizza consumed at the JCL over midnight philosophical debates with my new college friends. Nostalgic memories swim to the forefront of my mind. Everything seemed so new, so terrifying, so exciting. I remember when the thought of being late to a class was mortifying. Running—even sprinting—to UTC with a 20-pound backpack immediately exposed my identity as “freshman.”
As I look out at Speedway, everything has changed.
Mom, I’ve made it.
Three and a half years of late nights in the PCL. Friendships that have endured the passing from adolescence into adulthood. The thought of “adulting” is baffling. I don’t feel like an adult. Yet here I am at the precipice, looking headlong into the miry pit deemed “adulthood.” My world is so different now as I near the end of senior year. Four years ago, my biggest concerns were making friends, grades, and possible internships, which now seem so far away. Now my world is filled with endless resumes, cover letters, career fairs at The Rec, job interviews, and business-casual ensembles.
Arriving at the last semester of senior year is daunting. Unless you’re one of the blessed few who already has a job lined up, nearing the end of 16 years of education can feel like standing at the foot of a mountain without a belay. This rite of passage seems intimidating, but as you head into this new, unknown territory, you can rest because God has your back and He knows what the future holds.
God Establishes Your Steps
Sometimes it’s hard to see what God is up to, especially when it comes to a massive chapter in your life closing and the next one unfurling. One promise we can cling to in the midst of transition is Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
If you’re anything like me, you’re a planner. You like to have your course set. You want to have the best resume and the best possible chance of landing that dream job. You have succeeded in getting several professors to look over your resume and cover letter, and you probably even have mock job interviews set up. You want to be the best. Honestly, that’s probably why you chose UT—because what starts here changes the world. You are a world changer. You work hard. So that makes surrendering anything you want really, really difficult.
We can plan our way and get all our proverbial ducks in a row, but God establishes our steps. It is God we have to trust. It is He who opens and closes doors. So although we may want something, it is God who is doing the behind-the-scenes work and knows the path ahead.
When We Can’t See His Hand, We Can Trust His Heart
If God is the one who establishes our steps, we can look to His character and His heart to see how trustworthy and good He truly is. God has an excellent track record. Time and time again, He has proven Himself to be a good Father who is worthy of our submission to His will. How has He done this?
Consider the gospel.
Consider how our God wrapped Himself in weak, human flesh, was tempted in every way yet never sinned, and then died the death that we deserved because of our sin and brokenness. But it doesn’t end there. Jesus defeated death and was raised to life on the third day and is interceding on your behalf right now. If death could not hold our God, He is worthy of our trust.
Consider how the eventual path to the cross would not have seemed like the ideal plan for a 22-year-old Jesus. Surely there was an easier path to glory. Yet God knew and chose the exact path that led to His glory and the most good. But it would have never looked like that on the surface.
We can follow Jesus’s example and trust that God’s way, although it may be different than our plan, is always better. That’s easier said than done, though. We must consistently remind ourselves of the gospel and the truth of His strength and love in order to remember that our God holds our future in His hands. And He promises good to His children—not ease, but good. Romans 8:28 promises us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” If you are a child of God, you are called according to His purpose. All things work together for your good and for His glory. Even when you can’t see God’s hand, you can trust His heart.
During the first semester of senior year, you might have been able to pretend graduation wasn’t coming, but time is unforgiving, and here you stand, entering full-fledged adulthood. As you step into this new chapter, step confidently, because you know the Author of your life. He is your Father, and He is good. Cast your anxieties and fears on Him, because He loves you and is worthy of your trust. As you make your plans, look to Him, because even though His plan is often not what we expect, it is always what is best. His story will take you places you might have never dreamed of, but what He promises is always more of Himself.
Wherever He takes you, He will continue the good work He started in you and will continue to form you more into the image of His Son. Hold fast to His promises in this season, and trust His goodness.