At a conference several weeks ago, the main speaker (Carolyn Moore) spoke about thresholds. You know ... that little strip of wood, metal or plastic that is part of moving from one room to another, at the bottom of the door frame. Two other definitions are also applicable ... the end of a runway or the place or point of entering or beginning. Grooms carry brides over thresholds as a symbol of a new beginning. Planes lift off into the sky. People go from one room to another. Life is filled with thresholds.
When I heard Carolyn Moore talk about thresholds, I knew this was appropriate, applicable and informative as a theme for our message to our graduates today. They are lifting off. They are going from one room to another. They are stepping through a door.
I love the story of Elisha and the chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:8-23). Elisha's compound is oppressed, and seemingly surrounded by the enemy (Syrian forces). Elisha's servant is asking, "What shall we do?" Elisha says 2 things. First, he tells his servant, "Don't be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them!" Then, he prays, "Oh Lord, open his eyes so that he may see!" The servant opens his eyes and the hills are filled with horses and chariots of fire! It is a great story about faith, prayer and God's provision.
Three points about the story. When you go across or through a threshold, you have some level of fear. Our graduates have been in school most of their lives, and now they are entering a new place. Maybe school, maybe learning a trade, definitely new expectations and responsibilities. Whether you like it or not, life will change. But don't be afraid ... those who are for you are more numerous that those who are against you. This room is full of people who are for you. If you choose your companions well (this is key!) those friends will be honest and supportive (they might even tell you when you are heading into a ditch).
When you cross a threshold, you often find the lighting is different in the new room. Things can look scary. Maybe the light is too bright or maybe there are shadows and grey areas. We collectively pray that you will open your eyes and see clearly. Now lots of people will try to paint a picture that causes you to see what they want you to see. News media are experts at this. Social media, TV and other "informational" outlets are expert at this. Google even filters what you see by the expected perspective of the area in which you live. In more progressive areas you might get progressive results. In more conservative areas you might get conservative results. God, and Elisha accentuates this, wants you to see what is actually there. So do we, for the truth will set you free!
Finally, see the rest of the story. One would think that this scenario would end in a great battle in which God's forces decimate the enemy. God's solution is different here. He relocates the enemy to the capital of the Northern Kingdom, Samaria. Then God opens the eyes of the enemy so that they can see the truth of their situation. The King of the Northern Kingdom feeds the Syrians and sends them on their way. The point here is that though we cannot always avoid the fight, we submit our solutions to a God who knows more than we do. Good plan, I think!
When you cross thresholds, don't fear ... God and God's people are with you. When you enter that new room, pray that God will open your eyes so that you can see the truth of your reality. When you are opposed by the enemy, seek and trust God's solutions, even when those solutions go against conventional wisdom. May God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you, and give you peace! Amen! Randy