By Carrie Brown McWhorter
Content Editor, The Alabama Baptist
Writing a “senior prophecy” was an annual tradition at my high school. Members of the graduating class were asked to share a single sentence imagining where life might take them in the next decade.
Some classmates were practical, planning careers as teachers, social workers and cosmetologists. Others leaned toward the fantastical, dreaming of professional sports success and homes in exotic places.
If there were a gold medal for writing class prophecies, my classmate Brent Thompson, pastor of Heflin Baptist Church, would get it. Though he has two daughters, not two sons as predicted, he did marry his high school sweetheart, Angie, and he is still preaching the gospel.
Mine was clearly a reflection of current events.
That fall, I soaked in every moment of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, where U.S. athletes Florence Griffith-Joyner, Carl Lewis, Janet Evans and others brought home gold medals.
The spectacle of the Olympics, viewed on a small TV screen in my rural Alabama home, fascinated me then just as it does today.
My senior prophecy, which imagined life as a member of the International Olympic Committee, reflected that fascination.
So when Birmingham-area churches and the Birmingham Metro Baptist Association encouraged folks to volunteer for the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, I signed up.
I knew this was likely as close as I would ever get to that class prophecy written all those years ago, a “once in a lifetime” opportunity as many of my fellow volunteers and I called it.
The phrase “once in a lifetime” is usually reserved for special events. In reality, each new day, with all its varied encounters and experiences, could be described as “once in a lifetime.” So could a new school year.
Soon students and teachers will head back to their classrooms in public and private preschools, elementary, middle and high schools and colleges across the state.
Step out in faith
Whatever the 2022–23 academic year brings, it’s bound to be different than previous years, and that makes it a “once in a lifetime” year.
What might it look like to view that descriptor not just as an opportunity but also a challenge? A chance to step out in faith, set goals, get out of our comfort zones and try something that might broaden our own spiritual horizons and build the Kingdom?
Here’s my challenge to you: Write a “prophecy” for the year ahead.
At the end of this year, will you have learned more about Jesus through personal or small group Bible study?
Will you have made a new friend or maybe two?
Will you have invited five people to church or discipled someone?
Perhaps you will have read a book on prayer or spiritual gifts.
Write it down
Write your prophecy down. Put it in your Bible or post it somewhere you will encounter it daily.
The simple act of writing down your goal will help you keep it in focus in the days and months ahead.
Then pray. Pray for the Spirit’s guidance and take steps to achieve the goal set forth in your prophecy.
In this “once in a lifetime” year, let God amaze you with what He can do with a willing and committed heart.