I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Jeremiah 29:11-14 The Message


I still remember my last final exam.

Understand:  I dreaded finals so much that for many years after college I’d have this nightmare that I was about to take one and for some reason hadn’t attended the class. I’d wake up in a cold sweat, cursing myself. So you’d think I’d have been overjoyed to finish that final.

But when I handed in the last blue book and walked out of the last classroom, I felt a surprising wave of sorrow.

Then I walked into my dorm to find an underclassman moving her things out for the summer. “Good-bye,” she said, hesitant and suddenly awkward, “have a nice life.”


The wave rolled over me again, hard, leaving me staggering and breathless. The tectonic plates beneath my life were shifting; I hadn’t realized it before. I would never be a kid, a student again. That part of my life was over for good. And the future? Only the vaguest idea.

Now it’s happened again.

Our youngest grandson just graduated from high school. Yes, we still have a granddaughter in school, but she’s in Boise and in seventh grade—many long miles away and many years to graduation. We are done with the local school experience.  No more shivering through fall soccer games. No more basketball tournaments. No more concerts, plays, grandparents’ days.

The last local bird has fledged. Like all fledglings, he will hang around the nest for a while. But his life has changed dramatically and so will ours.

Like that day long ago, I feel sad, excited, and a little scared. What does the future hold for us all? I don’t know any more than I did back then.

But I do know Who holds that future: the same One Who held my past. The One Who saw me safely through all the trials and struggles that came later, Who gave me a life far better than I could imagine.

I lost my last grandparent when I was younger than this grandson. They didn’t live to see my life unfold; I won’t live to see his.

But we all follow the same God Who has made us these wonderful promises…and He doesn’t change or lie. That we can count on.

FATHER GOD: Thank You for Your precious promise of hope and a future. Help us rely on that, no matter what. Amen.

To be published In “Bozeman Daily Chronicle,” May 28, 2023.