You are no longer little boys – you are young men. And the reason I’m addressing you first is because you, as men, must be the backbone of our families. You must be the backbone of our society. You must be the backbone of our nation. Otherwise, society as a whole is doomed. There was once a time that manhood and masculinity were celebrated. We need to get back to that. Because today those terms have been redefined and marginalized in our culture. But know this: the culture is lying to you. This culture is parading in front of us, men wearing skirts and pearls, and demanding that we accept this as brave and normal. It is neither brave NOR normal. We need men who are not afraid to speak truth, and who are willing to fight for righteousness and for right causes. Men who will stand up and protect women and children. Men who will be the spiritual leaders in the family. Men who will do the hard things, commit for the long haul. That is what we expect of you. Do not disappoint us. Life is hard, and we need strong men to help us get through it. You are those men.
Like Esther in the Bible, you were born for such as time as this. Let me tell you why I believe that. The women we see today in the headlines – the celebrities, athletes, politicians – women who are propped up as role models – are loud, and crass, and divisive, and argumentative. They demand their rights – they are in our face – they are embarrassingly immoral –
But then there’s you. What a breath of fresh air. You are different. You are set apart. And the difference is so obvious. The easiest thing to do when you get out in the world is blend in – and fit in. But if you are going to be a true woman of God, and I pray that for each one of you – then you are going to be counter culture, and I say do it! Take this as a challenge. Show the world what strong, capable, feminine women look like. And do not settle for anything less than a man who honors and respects you because he recognizes your value and your worth.
Imagine if you were able to go through life – and get everything you want – with no struggle, no hard work, no challenges, no difficulties. Some of you are sitting here thinking, YES! I would love that!! Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. Plus, if you get everything you want with zero effort, you become weak. And when something hard comes up in your life – illness, injury, loss of a friend or family member, some other disappointment – you don’t know how to handle it, because you never went through anything that strengthened you.
The truth is, you cannot grow without pain and struggle.
You cannot develop strength without resistance.
So think of it this way: If you are to become a mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually strong human being, pain is your friend. Maybe not in the moment, but in the shaping of your character. If you don’t experience failure – if you don’t have struggles – if you don’t face disappointment – you won’t develop strength, courage, or compassion. How could you? Those qualities are only forged out of difficulty and trials.
The Bible tells us that in this world you will have tribulation – or struggle – or pain. That is a fact. But the verse doesn’t end there: It goes on to say, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.
You’ve experienced pain this year, because you are strong enough to handle it.
You were given this life, because you are strong enough to live it.
You are strong enough to push through it – and as a result, you will be an inspiration to others. They will look at you and say, “He did it.” “She did it.” “Maybe I can do it, too.” Class of 2022, you are stronger than you know. You have survived all your challenges to this point. And you will survive whatever is coming if you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.
So when life gets hard – and it will; when things go wrong, and they will; don’t quit. Many people will, because they view struggle as the enemy. But remember this: Nobody wants to hear the story of the person who had an easy life. People want to hear the story of men and women that endured pain, overcame adversity, pushed through the impossible, and came out stronger on the other side. THEY are the ones who have a story to tell – I pray that will be you. That your life will be a story WORTH telling.