Submitted by Pastor Andy Sanders, United Methodist Church, Fairfax, Mo.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Plans are an unusual thing as we hope them to play out the way that we think that they will, but often times they change.  This week I had the opportunity to deliver the message at Fairfax’s Baccalaureate which got me reflecting on plans.
Each of our seniors have planned for graduation for many years and we as parents have been planning right alongside  them.  We have done what we could to raise them to be good, upstanding adults, who will be a great addition to whatever communities they become a part of.  We have guided them in their schooling, uplifted them in life and nudged them along the way to achieve their goals.
We have done each of these things with a hope and a faith that they will be productive wherever their lives may lead them.  So this is a time of year where we reflect on our job as parents, or as grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, mentors and all the countless others of those who had a hand in raising these children into the adults they are today.  It is a bittersweet time as we see one goal achieved and others being set forth before them.  This is also a scary time where we let go, trusting that others will be there to continue guiding our children through the plans that have been laid.
In the speech that I gave to the Fairfax seniors and their parents I said that these plans are much like a ball.  We cannot see all sides of a ball at once, we can only perceive that it is there.  We believe it and have faith that the ball is in fact round, we use our senses to know this to be true and understand that even if we can’t see it there is in fact another side.
God is different though He has a plan for each one of us and He sees that plan in its entirety.  If our plans were like a ball where we can only see a portion of the ball He can see all around the ball.  God doesn’t just perceive it, He knows it.
So as we let our kids go after graduation knowing that the plans are laid forth, trust that God knows those plans.  God’s providence is working within those plans to build them and us up, plans not to destroy but instead to build up and give hope and a future.
My prayer:  Almighty and powerful Lord, we know there is none like you.  We ask you to watch over our kids as they graduate, moving on to the next part of their lives.  We know that this is an exciting time, a scary time, a happy time, and a sad time as many of our kids will be going off to college after the summer is done.  Hold each one of the graduates in your loving arms and keep them safe wherever they may go.  We also pray for all the parents and loved ones who have worked so hard to see these students succeed.  Most of all Lord let every single one of us trust in the plans that you have for us, letting your grace, your mercy and your love continue to transform us into who you have called us to be.