Dear 2017 Seniors

Published 7:59 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

By Steve Bowen
Contributing Columnist

We are very honored to be able to pause this week to share with high school graduates something that may make a difference. To do that, we’ll have to lay aside our “columnist” title for a week and simply be your “coach.”

Thanks for the honor. It may not make a difference to a thousand of you, or even a hundred; but if it makes a difference with one of you – just one! – it will be a great Friday morning of some old-fashioned “coaching.”

I had a chance one morning this week to go for a long walk and think on what you could most use.

As I walked, I wondered “What would your mom and dad most want you to know?”
That led me to this question: As you move on in your life, will you choose faith, or will you not?
It’s not a question that you can not answer or figure you’ll get to later.

You’ll answer it every morning the minute your feet hit the floor.
You may have lived on your parents’ faith for the first 18 years of your life.

That was a good start, but that won’t take you where you need to go. As you move on, that faith is going to come up against some awfully big tests. Everybody’s does.

It recently dawned on me why some people choose to follow the Lord and some don’t.

There is within all of us either a will to believe or a will not to believe. Some choose not to because they can’t seem to wrap their minds around the Bible’s teachings.
Oh, there’s plenty of biblical, historical, literary, scientific, and archaeological evidence to support faith in the Bible. But if a man doesn’t want to believe, he can stir up enough confusion to talk himself out of it.
In your case, though, I’m sure it’s not so much a decision to believe or not to believe in the Bible.

It’s more of a decision to live it or not to live it.

That’s what it comes down to. To live it is going to make you choose not to go to some of those parties, hang out with some of those friends and do some of the things that many of the people around you are doing.
That’s the tough part. Faith isn’t just a thought hidden away in the back roads of your mind. It’s something that sits right there on your front porch for everybody to see.
In a way, faith is a funny thing. Sometimes it feels strong; then sometimes it feels as if it needs life support.

The good news is that even the greatest of men experienced doubts. Remember Abraham, one of the greatest faith warriors who ever lived? His faith grew so weak at times that his lies almost caused a massacre. So why was he a great man of faith? I think it’s because of this: In all his life, he never lost his will to follow the Lord. He chooses faith even after he doesn’t nearly live up to it. He skids off of the road from time to time; but he always pulls his life out of the ditch, and puts it back in gear.
To be able to keep yourself out of the ditch, you’re going to need some help. The best short piece of advice I can think of comes from Lee Strobel in his classic book,

The Case for Faith. As he talked to an older Canadian preacher named Lynn Anderson about faith, he asked the old man for a good place to get faith started.
Mr. Anderson answered a person needs to surround himself with the right things: the right people, the right reading materials and the right influences. Then he says something curious, and true.

“After all,” he says, “if you want to grow roses, you don’t buy an acre at the North Pole. You go to where roses grow well.”

Young seniors, you’ll make many decisions as you head out the door to make your way in the world.

You’ll go to many places. But wherever you go, make sure of this:
Go where faith grows. God bless your great journey ahead!