God's Faithfulness In the Unexpected Curve Balls of Life (Baccalaureate Speech 2021, Toby Jacobson)

Amy Barnard

Each year three students are invited to share at Minnehaha Academy's Baccalaureate night. Here is what graduating senior Toby Jacobson had to share. Content has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Facing the Unknown

Hello families and friends, faculty and staff, and most importantly, Minnehaha Class of 2021. My name is Toby Jacobson and I am so grateful we can all gather today to worship and celebrate this huge change in our lives.  

It is time; this weekend, we are graduating from high school after four very unique years. We began our high school careers being thrust into an office building at Mendota, and now we have been learning through a pandemic for over a year. It is amazing what we have lived through, because it all seems so normal looking back on it. But these situations are not normal.  

The unknown in all situations is filled with fear, and causes confusion and even chaos. Things change all the time and cause us to worry.  Things do not go the way we expect or hope for them to go, which causes us to feel stress. But through so much change, one thing always remains and will always remain: God, and His faithfulness to us. That is what He has shown me over the last four years in my own life and through many of my experiences at Minnehaha Academy.  

An Unexpected Curve Ball

Four years ago, I was not planning on coming to Minnehaha. I had toured and shadowed at a few different high schools during my eighth grade school year and had applied to one of them. My plan throughout the summer was to go to St. Thomas Academy. I did an interview there, registered, and even bought a hat and shirt from their school store. For all I knew, I was a St. Thomas Cadet. However, that summer, I was on the same baseball team as Bennett Thurow and Dylan Kiratli, two Minnehaha students, and Mr. Thurow was my coach.  They heard I was an incoming freshman who was looking to go to a private high school, so that entire summer they bugged me about Minnehaha. I thought I was destined to be at St. Thomas, so I shut them down time and time again, but they just kept nagging at me.  Finally, only a month before the school year, they convinced me to at least visit Minnehaha. I did and something just felt right on my visit, so I came back the next day to take my entry tests and officially enroll.

I am very fortunate that I was on the baseball team that summer with those guys, because it led me to Minnehaha. But that was not my original plan.  

In past seasons I was on a different team. I played on the AAA team, which was the highest level there was. That’s what I was used to and all my buddies were on it, so that is the team I hoped to make again. However, after tryouts when teams were chosen, I did not make the AAA team. At that time, I was saddened and frustrated with myself because I would not get to play with the same group of guys that I had the last four years, and I was also embarrassed to have not made the highest team. But today, as I look back on it, I am so very thankful to have not made that team. At the time, I did not know the bigger plan that God had for me would lead me to Minnehaha Academy, a school that I genuinely enjoy waking up to go to every morning because it is filled with friends who make me laugh, teachers who are huge mentors for me, smiling faces in every hallway, and loving people around every bend. All I knew at that time was that my plan did not work out.

I did not know the bigger plan that God had for me would lead me to Minnehaha Academy, a school that I genuinely enjoy waking up to go to every morning.

Seeing God's Faithfulness

My plan not working out continued in a lot of ways throughout high school, but in every way, God revealed his love and faithfulness to me.  Whether it was when we came in as freshmen to a weird office building that ended up being a place that strengthened our class, or one of my class schedules that lacked some of my close friends but allowed me to get to know new amazing people on a deeper level (people I couldn’t imagine not being in my life today), or failures on sports teams that have humbled and motivated me to be better, or even what I might be going through now, and haven’t yet realized the greater purpose God has for it, these have all been places God has been faithful.

During the last four years, I have been learning to put my trust in God and his plans for my life. It is quite evident that his plans are purposeful and lead to greater joy and goodness, even when I don’t notice what is in the making in the moment. In my frustration for not making the team, I could not see that I would end up meeting people who led me to this amazing school. I am grateful for the gift God gave me, to see part of his plan, of coming to Minnehaha, and coming almost full circle. As I continue in life, I choose to set my hope in God’s plans because I know he has a purpose for me and I need not worry about possible mishaps. Through these last four years he has shown that he is greater than those mishaps and that nothing can come in the way of changing his ultimate plan for my life.

Through these last four years he has shown that he is greater than those mishaps and that nothing can come in the way of changing his ultimate plan for my life.

Memories and Next Steps

He’s shown me the goodness and joy in his plans during my time here and in all the memories I now have: Telling Leo Kloos to “chill out” when he gets crazy in advisory, politely advocating for myself and for the class in anatomy, chatting with the boys about anything and everything at the lunch table, watching Finn Andreasen and Will Carlen hoop for hours in the gym, being confused in Latin class but still receiving grace from Mrs. Beck, wearing my jersey to school on football game days, studying before school in the peaceful library, Nate Sundeen’s slime shorts, and so many more amazing memories that I’ll remember for a long time. I loved high school, but as I look forward to the future, I am excited to make new memories and follow what God has in store for me. 

Class of 2021, hear the words God has for you from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Thank you!

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