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Corner of Church St and Market St Wollongong Sunday 8am, 9:45am +livestream, 11:30am Easy English, 5pm and 7pm
For many years, I had September 24 2020 marked across calendars as the date of my graduation and formal. I awaited this day with anticipation, ready to celebrate the 13 long years spent in school. Instead, on that Thursday, I sat in a hot, cramped hall with 126 classmates, rehearsing for a ceremony without family.
Year 12 didn’t go as expected. The excursions that were organised, the ideas for “not-schoolies”, the gap year around Europe we’d started planning: everything was off the table. For many of us, the only certainty we felt was that there was no certainty: assignments were rescheduled and cancelled. Performances and competitions were outlawed. We weren’t even allowed to sit near our friends.
To top it off, the uni degrees my friends and I were looking forward to are about to double in price. Like many of my peers, I felt cheated out of what was meant to be one of the best years.
Yet, God chooses to remind us of His great power and providence at weird moments. Driving home from that Thursday rehearsal, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratefulness. Perhaps it was that St Michael’s Annual Thanksgiving Day was coming, and the ‘KYCK live’ event was approaching. Or maybe it was straight from God to me, but it was a much-needed reminder that He is in control and has already made my path ahead.
I was encouraged by Psalm 136 to continually “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” In this passage, His abounding love is shown through all He has done for His people. I was particularly encouraged to give thanks “to Him who led his people through the wilderness.” Just as the Lord led the Israelites out of Egypt, through the desert, He has a plan to lead us through our struggles.
I felt so thankful for all that people had stepped up to during this time. Even though I missed some stuff, I remembered the hard work people put in organising alternative events. I am thankful for my youth leaders who engaged more than 30 bored adolescents over Zoom, who organised the wonderful KYCK event and helped create a seamless transition back into onsite youth. I am grateful also, to all the youth kids who continued to attend regardless of venue. They showed faithfulness through their own uncertain times. The hours that service leaders, tech crew, musicians, and other church members put in to get the Livestream running, and then to transition back onsite was another thing I’m grateful for. The Lord provided us with the community that we needed in this crazy time.
I’ve spent hours ranting to family members and friends about my disappointment in the way Year 12 turned out. Yet my life in heaven will never end; with Christ I shall live for eternity. So why have I spent more time sharing my grievances about this year, than sharing the wonderful hope Christ has given me? Even when I felt there was no certainty, He reminds us that we have certainty. We are saved through His Son, and we will be with Him in the New Heaven and Earth. Philippians 3:7-11 reminds us to “consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus [our] Lord”, and that our righteousness comes from our faith in Christ.
So, what has weighed most on your heart this year? God tells us this will pass, and that He has offered us so much more through the death and resurrection of His Son. Let Him and His New Creation be what you await with anticipation.