This blog post is a slightly edited version of the message I delivered that night. It was a feeble attempt to go along with the party's "book" theme. Also, I antedated it to June 6, the day it took place.
There was band in the early 1990s called After Image. It's most popular member is the vocalist Wency Cornejo, son of news anchor and broadcast journalist Mel Changco. One of the signature songs of the band was entitled Next in Line. If I remember things right, Wency wrote it right after graduation. It was a realization that he has moved to adulthood. He had new responsibilities in his hands. But there are also lots of uncertainties. So the first line of the song asks, "What has life to offer me when I grow old?". In other words, Cornejo was then asking “What will happen in the next chapters of my life?”
Turning 18 is truly an exciting chapter in one's life. It means you will now be considered as an adult capable of making wise decision on your own. That is why you are given the right to vote and sign contracts. Yet there are also many uncertainties from here and beyond. So it is also a legitimate question for you to ask, "What has life to offer me when I grow old?".
My first word of advice is do not fall into the trap of thinking you can control your future by sheer talent and determination. No, we do not have control over that. We don't even know what will happen tomorrow (James 3:14).
Job did not foresaw that in the next chapters of his life, he would lose all his donkeys, sheep and camels. He did not foresaw the death of all his sons and daughters in a calamity. He did not foresaw that he would soon suffer from painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.
And there was Joseph. Joseph did not foresaw that in the next chapters of his life, his brothers will sell him into slavery. He did not foresaw that he would soon be falsely accused of frustrated rape and find himself in prison in a foreign land.
My second advice would be, imitate what is common to these two men: Job and Joseph. They had unwavering trust in God in the midst of their afflictions. They held on to their integrity because they know fully that God "rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). The winds may blow strongly, the earth may shake violently, but we have a rock-solid foundation that cannot be moved by any force-- and that foundation is Jesus Christ.
My third word of advice, make the most of every chapter that the Lord gives. We do not know the length of this book we are living. Some books are long; some books are short. The most important thing is to please God in every page. When the last chapter of our life comes and we read the very last page, it will be the start of a brand new story. You will be back in chapter one, this in Volume 2 of your life. It will be a story so glorious because “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4)