The End Is Not The End
I am convinced that we spend too much time and energy focusing on the wrong events. We are quick to mourn but slow to celebrate. We are skilled at playing the victim but overly unfamiliar with the role of victor. We can remember the negative until the day we die but seldom are we able to as readily recall the positive. We wear our hurts, pains, and disappointments like some sort of macabre medals of honor. But in stark contrast the high points of our lives become resigned to the corners of forgetfulness where they sit collecting dust. Far too often we are so focused on endings that we fail to appreciate the beauty of new beginnings. Speaking for myself, I long to see a “shift” in my thinking. I desire a new perspective, a divine perspective at that… particularly as it relates to endings and new beginnings.
The first day of the sixth month during the reign of King Darius… A red-letter day on the calendar. It had to be. Without question. Why? Because for the people of God it marked the beginning of something entirely new. The only problem was that up until that fateful day their calendars had only been marked by painful memories. For far too many years they lived under the crushing weight of their past failures. All around them were the ruins of a once proud and beautiful city. For centuries it had flourished as a light to the nations. But years of repeated and unrepentant idolatry had brought it all to a tragic end. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar had laid waste to the city of God. For decades it sat in ruin. Finally, God had opened a door of opportunity, allowing the people to return and rebuild the city, the walls, and the Temple. But after getting off to a great start the people had fallen into apathy and indifference. Opposition had forced them to abandon the divine commission and now the Temple lay desolate, serving as just one more reminder of their inability to walk in faithfulness and obedience.
But then God graciously intervened. And through His mercy and power He transformed what looked like a horrible ending into a beautiful beginning. This season would not be defined by their failures. Rather, it would be remembered as the year they seized their future. The pain of the past was going to be washed away in a flood of restoration and renewal. The ruins would be removed. The desolate places would be rebuilt. Worship would be restored and joy would once again fill the land. The old was passing away and God was ushering in a new day… a day of destiny, a day of celebration, and a day of new hope for the future. The Temple would be rebuilt, a solemn reminder that our God is all about new beginnings. In Him, the end is not the end. It is simply a transition to the new.
Haggai was a prophet. But the book that bears His name is not a pronouncement of doom and destruction. Rather, it is a proclamation of the faithfulness and love of our God. It is a powerful reminder that when we think it is over that is actually the point where God is most prolific. He loves to demonstrate His power in new beginnings. Not convinced? How about this? “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” Here’s another. “Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things;…” And here’s one more for good measure. “And He who sits on the throne said, I am making all things new.” There it is for everyone to see. His repeated promise is found throughout the Bible. New, new, new… our God takes great delight in making all things new. He is all about new beginnings.
The encouraging part is that includes me. It also includes you, my friend. Each of us desperately need to remember that the next time we think we have reached the end. Life is not defined by the closing of chapters or the fading of the sunset into the horizon. Just the opposite. Those events are only temporary passages into the greater and grander purposes of our God. Even now He is writing a new chapter into the story of your life. Even now the darkness is preparing to give way to the brilliance of a new sunrise. Nope, God is not about endings. He is all about new beginnings. In Him the end is not the end.