Dec 312019 0 Responses

In All Endings…God

Endings are hard. Beginnings are exciting. They are full of potential and optimism. It’s not difficult to start something. A new year is full of hope. A new job is full of possibilities. Our minds race at the thought of a new relationship. Beginnings are fun, but endings are hard. Even the good endings–graduations and retirements–contain a good amount of grief, uncertainty and loss. The bad endings–divorces and funerals–can exact a great cost from us.

Life is full of endings. Nothing stays the same. Seasons come and go; transitions are made. What we wish could last forever, sadly ceases to be.

An integral part of navigating life is being able to recognize endings and to process them properly. One mantra I repeat is: in all endings…God.

Whenever something comes to an end, we must turn our attention to God, recognize his presence, thank him for his empowerment, and confess our continual need for His Grace. In good times or bad, endings are an opportunity to renew our commitment to God and be reminded of his love for us.

Bad Endings

Some endings are bad. No one gets married hoping they will divorce. Few people ever think they will be fired from their job. No one wants to stop doing what they love because a diagnosis is made. Yet life is full of endings that we never desired. (See: God Can Always Re-Route You)

When a bad ending is experienced, we recognize God’s sovereign control over our lives. We submit to His plan while taking personal responsibility for our choices. We never blame God for the bad things in life, but we do recognize he is active in our lives and can use all circumstances for our good. While we wish our experience was different, we are grateful that God is with us.

Nearly every month I stand at a graveside officiating a funeral service. At that moment, it is my job not just to remember the deceased, but also to point everyone’s attention to God. In all endings, God.

Good Endings

Some endings are good. While a parent is sad to take their child to their first day of school, they fully hope and expect that child will eventually graduate. Handing a kid a set of car keys is an exciting beginning to a new season of life, but they are also at the end of an important season of parenting. Weddings are a great new beginning, but they also end certain aspects of a child’s relationship with his or her parents.

When a good ending is experienced, we feel a deep sense of gratitude for the good that was had. We recognize not everyone gets the opportunity we received and we thank God for what He has given. While we wish our experience could continue, we trust that the God who brought good things to us before will continue to bring good in the future.

Nearly every month, I am with a family at a good ending. As we celebrate an accomplishment, it is my job to nudge their attention to God. Even in good endings, God.

All Endings

In all endings….God. Specifically, recognize God’s grace. In the end, we don’t stand on our accomplishments. We don’t trust in what we have done or what we have. In the end, we solely rely on God’s grace. So, in every ending, reorient your thoughts, actions, and emotions toward God’s grace. It will save you from pride in your successes and self-pity in your failures. It will empower you to forgive others and to forgive yourself. It will save you from denial while also allowing you to move forward.

In all endings…God.

The Ending of a Year and Decade

As the calendar turns from December to January, most attention is given to the year to come. However, some reflection should be spent on reflecting on the year that has gone. Some years are good and some are bad. Most are both. This year is not just the end of the year, but also the close of a decade. In looking back, I’m amazed how much life takes place in ten years. So many highs and lows have been experienced over the past decade that it is difficult to remember all that took place. Take time and reflect on what was. Recognize God’s faithfulness through it all.

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