Dear Graduating Student of 2020

John Biron

June 19, 2020

Dear graduating student,

Congratulations for finishing your studies and receiving a diploma for your hard-earned degree!

In an ideal world, that greeting would have been received with excitement and anticipation for new beginnings of independence and a better future. However, fear and anxiety might be a more apt description of what you feel today because of the global crisis.

Relate ka ba?

I may not know exactly what you’re going through, but I do know that we are all in a difficult time that brings so much uncertainty. With families starving, thousands out of work, and entire industries crumbling, how do we move forward with hope?

As I ponder the harsh reality that besets the class of 2020, these words come to mind. Though they may be far too familiar, I want to say this again because it is TRUE:

God has a plan.

You may be saying, “Really? How? The year 2020 came like a ‘series of unfortunate events.’”

That’s true.

And I can think of one of the characters in the Bible that we can relate to the most in this seemingly endless series of unfortunate events: Joseph.

He is introduced to us in a very promising way. Favored by his father, he even received a multi-colored robe and dreamt big dreams! One of these dreams was to reign even over his kuyas who despised him for being the favorite. What more could he ask for, right?

And then a series of unfortunate events happened.

He was sold as a slave by his brothers; falsely accused by his master’s wife and thrown into prison; and forgotten by the Pharaoh’s servant whom he had foretold would get out of prison. He was left in prison for two whole years. In the midst of the betrayal and disappointment, he might have asked: What now of his dreams? What now of the plans he believed God gave him? How could they be fulfilled now that he was in prison and forgotten by the very people he had cared for?

Yet in the midst of this series of unfortunate events, we see someone else at work.

Even when Joseph was sold as a slave, the Lord was with him. (Genesis 39:1,2)

Even when he was imprisoned, the Lord’s steadfast love never left him. (Genesis 39:20,21)

All his plans and dreams now seemed like a blur amid the circumstances on the canvas of his life. Yet the Lord had always been with him.

With no one to [physically] hold on to, there was One who went with Joseph every step of the way—even in his darkest moments.

And He is the same God who walks with you.

It was God’s presence that made the difference! 

For Joseph, it wasn’t the circumstance that defined his ending—it was the God who walked with him, making sure the ending was exactly as He planned!

And this is the same assurance that you have. Things may not go as planned. Your timeline and expectations might be far from what you determined.

Changes happen, left and right. Sometimes even before we can cope, our situation shifts again. But in the midst of all the changes around us, we find one who is unchanging—one who promised to stay the same yesterday, today, and forever. And this is our assurance! Just as He was with Joseph, He is with us—He is with YOU!

In the same way that God was in control of Joseph’s life, He is able to navigate our circumstances to lead us into the purpose He has for us.

So what can we learn from Joseph’s life as we go through this difficult season?

Joseph advanced because God was with him.

“His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.”

(Genesis 39:3,4)

Interestingly, the word “succeed” here means to press through, to arrive, to go forward towards success, to advance.

Joseph did not stagnate. He advanced in what he was doing. This is the time to sharpen your craft. Whatever you can find to learn or improve in, do so. Have you heard of the girl who finished twenty online courses from several of the top universities across the world? What are you good at? What’s your passion? Sharpen it. Find ways to do it.

Work on your character—your patience, perseverance, faithfulness, gratitude, diligence, and more. These traits will be invaluable in your future job.

Joseph brought God’s blessing wherever he was.

From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field.”

(Genesis 39:5)

God’s presence with Joseph became a blessing wherever Joseph was. In the same way, you are a blessing wherever you are because God is with you. Whether in washing the dishes, folding your clothes, keeping the house tidy, serving your family, or working, you can be a blessing.

In the end, we know that Joseph eventually became second-in-command to Pharaoh, and he ruled and reigned in Egypt. Through his wisdom, he saved Egypt and the rest of the nations, including his own brothers, from famine.

This goes to show that in the midst of all the unfortunate events plaguing Joseph’s life, it was God’s presence that made the difference! And it was God who made sure that these “unfortunate events” set Joseph up to be exactly where God wanted him.

Our God has never changed, and He is also at work in you. He will make sure you enter the plans and purposes He has set for you.

Will you allow Him to bring you there?




The Author

John Biron

John loves being married to Liane, enjoys showering Judah with kisses while he's still small, and is crazy about doing campus ministry at UP Los Baños with both of them.