Lots of commencement speeches this time of year. Most of them, pretty predictable. "Live up to your potential." "Follow your dreams." "The sky's the limit."

But there has never been a commencement speech like the one at Morehouse College this year. Billionaire businessman Robert Smith set 396 graduates free in one day.

A Personal Word...

This is the third anniversary of the "quake" that rocked our world - when my amazing Karen was suddenly called Home. It was - as a major loss is in so many families - a redefining moment for all of us.

This week, three years later, is strangely reminiscent of that week. That year - and this year - a grandson graduates from the local high school as valedictorian. Then and now, our grandson gives a Christ-honoring graduation speech. Then and now, I speak for their school's baccalaureate service. But this time, Karen won't be there.

But my journey through this "valley of the shadow" continues to show me Jesus as I've never seen Him before. My prayer is that these reflections will give hope to someone who may just be starting this journey. I can only say that when your life is anchored in a relationship with Jesus, the anchor holds. In spite of the storm.

I told my Karen many times, "They're picking it up on seismograph." Her laugh, that is. That infectious, head back, light up the room laugh.

She's been gone since just after Mother's Day 2016. But her laughter still echoes in our hearts. Just ask her children and grandchildren.

But it was more than the laugh. It was the joy behind it. Because her life wasn't one big happy dance. I walked with her through many deep heartaches, wounds and disappointments. Through the seasons of no money. Through medical battles and three medical emergencies where we almost lost her. And too many funerals.

I had the last handful of dirt. Many of our dear Native American friends had led the way. They really loved my Karen.

As I threw mine into that six-foot hole, I spoke the three words engraved inside our wedding rings. "Til Jesus comes." And then, quietly - "See you soon, baby."

I know I will.

My first hint that things were changing was the Storm Troopers suddenly patrolling the parking lot. Then I saw the man with the floor-length wolf tail. Followed by seeing X-Men in the hotel lobby.

It's a stunner. They call it Firefall. For a few nights in February, Horsetail Falls at Yosemite National Park appears to have turned into cascading molten lava!

In reality, it's a phenomenon created as the setting sun reaches just the right angle to shine on that waterfall. And that reflection creates a breathtaking "firefall."

Our grandson's on a mission to Asia today! Literally, retracing much of my first overseas ministry trip many years ago.

When he texted about his landing there, I had a flashback. Of the people at the gate.

As I emerged from customs, here was this sea of people, waving signs with people's names on them. Folks they were looking for. Family members. Limo passengers. Business associates. Best friends.

It was Valentine's Day, "long ago and in a galaxy far away" (actually, I was in college). The day I risked it all to get the girl I loved.

I couldn't understand why this vivacious brunette named Karen couldn't see how awesome I was. (I've since figured out why - I wasn't anywhere near as awesome as I thought I was.) Knowing if I pushed it, I'd ruin it, I had settled for what we agreed was a "brother-sister relationship." Well, she had settled.

A ten-year-old boy who never should have waded out in Lake Michigan without knowing how to swim. Me. I can still remember the terror and helplessness of going under for the second time.

I'm alive today because someone on the shore saw me drowning. He jumped in and saved my life.

Then there were those 33 Chilean miners, trapped for 69 days in a collapsed mine a half mile down. Until that rescue capsule was lowered down that newly-created shaft. The rescuers brought every miner out alive.

That's what I want to be. Because an awful lot of people don't really like the kind of Christian they're seeing. And that's a big deal. Because it's keeping them from Jesus.

The woman I loved since I was 19 was that different kind of Christian. You could tell by the mountain of tributes I received after she went to be with Jesus a little over two years ago. Those tributes had a common theme - "she made me feel..." They would finish the sentence with words like "loved...heard...accepted...worth something...believed in...I mattered."

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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