Our Help and Our Hope


There’s a big difference between starting and finishing, but one word carries both meanings. The word commencement is used in two common ways: the ceremony where degrees are conferred on graduates, and the beginning of a process. Commencement is the finish line for which students labor and toil—some for many years—in hopes of donning a black robe and mortarboard hat to shake hands with the president, pose for a photo, and receive their coveted diploma. However, making it to commencement is not the ultimate goal of students’ studies. It concludes an important time of academic preparation so that a new season of fruitful service may commence.

Commencement at Bethlehem College and Seminary is undoubtedly my favorite event of the academic year. It is a time to acknowledge the important achievement of our graduates, to be sure, but we do so in a way that testifies to the faithfulness of our sovereign God and commissions these men and women to go forth in faith. I’m reminded of the classic Isaac Watts hymn:

O God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come,
our Shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal Home.

Our Help and our Hope. This potent pairing prompts us to reflect back on God’s past grace day after day in our lives and propels us forward confidently clinging to God’s promise of future grace. Surely God has been an ever-present Help for these Bethlehem graduates, and commission them into life and ministry because we know that the God of Hope has promised to never leave or forsake his people until he brings us safely home.

On the eve of Commencement, I offer this prayer for the 2024 graduating class of Bethlehem College and Seminary.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You are our Maker, our Sustainer, our Rock, our Redeemer.
You have been faithful to each one of these graduates day after day, year after year.
You have been their constant Help through various trials, you have strengthened them by your grace, and you have equipped them for every good work.

So I pray that you will make these graduates worthy of your calling and fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by your power, that your name may be exalted.

Satisfy them in the morning with your steadfast love, that they may rejoice and be glad all their days.
Make them glad even in times of sorrow and affliction and show forth your glorious strength in their weakness.
May your favor be upon them, O everlasting God, and establish the work of their hands.

Our hope is in you, Lord, and we commend these graduates to you for your glory and their everlasting joy.


Brian J. Tabb, Ph.D.


Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray for our graduates as they launch into life and ministry.
  2. Pray for our students and professors as they head into summer break.
  3. Pray for the full funding of the Serious Joy Scholarships still needed before June 30.