The bookends of life: the end and the beginning

There are many proverbial phrases that are easy to understand because we can relate to them. For example: “No pain no gain”, or “A picture is worth a thousand words”, or “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”. These phrases have a unmistakable meaning; that if one quoted the phrase, then the meaning need not be spoken or defined, but it is clearly understood.

The same can be said of something ending, making way for a new beginning. Like these: “It’s always darkest before dawn”, and “We must go through a valley to appreciate the height of the mountain”.

For me, I can best relate to this one: “You have to finish this chapter before you can start the next one.”

As we end 2019 and look to 2020, our future is unknown. Yet, we can anticipate and look forward to the adventure that awaits. Why? This is the cycle of life: In order to start something new, we must end something first.

Our lives revolve around these cycles. The sun must set and bring the night before we can see the dawn of a new day. The fall and winter seasons are then followed by the spring and summer seasons. By going through hard times, we can then appreciate the easier times.

We cannot begin a new year without ending this one. No matter how 2019 went, it happened, and now we put it behind us to start a new one. Does this mean we forget or ignore our challenges, pains or victories? NO! They are there for us to learn from, to be thankful for, and to grow stronger as a result of them. This is why God gave us memories, but only to reflect on, not to live in their shadow.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

So let’s learn from what is now our past, and look forward to what the Lord has in store for us. This is HOPE – for tomorrow – the dawning of a new day, the new year, the next chapter in our lives, for eternal life with God.

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
Proverbs 23:18

Here’s to ending a year in our life, and to starting a new chapter.
May the Lord be your passion and your vision in 2020.

Food for thought: Another analogy – Death before life – the opposite of how the world views the sequence of life, but this is how God views the important order of living. Jesus said we must die to self in order to live for Him. In baptism we are ‘buried’ under the water only to rise again to a new life in Christ. We cannot enter heaven without our physical body dying first. This is God’s order: birth= life, then death (to self) followed by rebirth in Jesus Christ = life ETERNAL. Then when we do face our inevitable physical death, we have confident hope of the Lord’s promised eternal life!

Fun facts: When reading a book, a good author will keep you intrigued enough that you can’t put the book down when you finish a chapter. Some writers’ techniques are cliffhangers, questions, a revelation, or introducing a new character.

Photo by: S O C I A L . C U T

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