Friday, December 30, 2016

The End is better than its Beginning

The end of a thing is better than its beginning;” Ecclesiastes 7:8 “
As I reflected on the end of the year 2016, I thought of Solomon’s words.   Now I know some would like to say that a proper translation of that verse is that the end of a sermon is better than its beginning and while I am not sure that is sound translation, I can’t disagree with the point.  I have also preached a few sermons in which I was simply glad to make it to the end. But even more than in sermons, this point can be seen in life.

Maybe you traveled over the Christmas holidays. If so, you know that the end of a trip is infinitely better than the beginning. It always feels so good to come back home and know that all the hours in the car are behind me.  Imagine a ship that leaves for a far port.  When it returns with all its cargo, the captain knows just what storms they weathered in the trip.  He remembers nearly running aground or being swamped.  He recalls the three nights they spent without ever seeing the stars and three days without the sun.  For him, the end of the voyage is clearly better than the beginning.

Or perhaps, we should think of a soldier, going off to war.  Is not the end of a thing better than the beginning for that soldier?  How he longs to complete his tour and be safely home!  This point is obviously true in so many instances in life but it is not absolutely true. It must be taken with a grain of salt.  Some people look at the beginning and ask, “Will the end really be any better?”

Maybe you know the storms of 2016 and you are afraid of what the storms of 2017 will bring.  Will I be able to bear up under them?  Will I have less or more at the end of the year?  How will my family be affected this year?  Yet, Solomon says, no matter how bad the beginning is, the end is always better.

In our growth as believers, most Christians have more trials early in their Christian walk rather than late.  And all of us are growing in our Christian walk.  Lamentations 3:27 “It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.”  If you wake up in the morning and the sun is behind the clouds, you don’t assume that the sun will never shine again.  And, if you are in a dark period of your life, don’t despair, the sun will shine again.

Take this verse from The Message as a prophecy to give you hope and dispel your fears: I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The end of the matter will be better than the beginning. God is still in charge.   The past is history, the future’s a mystery, but God has given us this moment, that’s why it’s called the present.  It is in this time that God will move us toward that end that He has promised.  So let’s keep our eyes on the prize and move into this year with the understanding that God has a plan and a purpose for today and our future.

Scripture to Claim:

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31)

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