The Beginning and The End
I love a good story. And being an avid reader, I’ve plowed through biographies, soared through fantasies, unraveled mysteries, and applied my logic to science fiction. Sometimes reading is a journey into myself, or a journey into the unknown where I suddenly find myself. An adventure in which perils are faced and overcome, where friendship and loyalty are necessary to defeat evil. There is nothing quite so satisfying as finishing a story that concludes with a window to the future of the characters, believing in happily ever after.
Now, here we are, in the middle of a story. Much has happened before now, and a great deal more will happen before the end. We might peer into the past to track our progress or our detours. We might gaze into the misty future and try to imagine what is on the other side of this particular oasis of peace or chasm of suffering. Mostly, we are simply challenged to be fully present, now.
I enjoy being in a family gathering when my great nieces and nephews are present. Most of them are toddlers in various stages of self-awareness with absolutely no realistic concept of time. It is positively delightful to encounter a small person who is fully present because for her there is only this moment. She is completely secure in the reality that both the past and the future are in the capable hands of her parents who see all things and know all things.
Of course, you and I are much more sophisticated. We know for a fact that security is an illusion and that if we don’t worry about the future and plan for ways to take care of ourselves, no one else is capable of knowing what is best for us. Right?
I’m so grateful we have a heavenly Father and a heavenly home. We have the security of knowing where we came from and where we are going, even if we don’t always have the particulars. After all, isn’t that what an adventure is? To launch into the unknown with the conviction that we have a Father and a Brother and a host of others and a home we’ll eventually get to. Is the journey arduous? Yes. Is it fraught with danger? Yes. The end is already written, though, and it contains an infinite reality: Everlasting life in Christ Jesus.
In the meantime, how do we live? How do we learn this dance, this rhythm of significant daily-ness? We practice the presence of God, so that we can stay present. To be fully engaged in the moment with whomever is in our path, we have to be full of faith, full of grace, and full of love. (John 1:14; Acts 6:5,8; Romans 5:5) These things of God are ours in Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Faith, hope and love are more than conceptual. They are experienced tangibly by the believer everyday, in the mundane – buying groceries with an attitude of worship and a desire to be a good steward, in the sublime – that blissful moment when your child offers up a sticky and jelly smeared kiss, and even in the absurd – when the plumbing goes awry hours before your guests arrive for dinner. In all these seemingly insignificant events, God is present, and when we bear witness to Him, we benefit from all the grace, all the faith, and all the love that is His.
The story is unfolding, and we get to play our small part, resting in the great and mighty context of God. He really does see all things, and He really does know all things, and He really is the beginning and the end of all things.
Until next week, beloved, live full of faith. God’s promises are true.