In the beginning… Once upon a time… It all started when…
The three statements above are all the first part of what you know is going to be a story. Is it going to be a good story? A happy story? A sad story? We all have a story to tell. It’s the story of our life. We all know the beginning of our own personal story, and we know the content of our story up to this point. However, we do have a ‘rest of the story’ that has yet to be told.
The end of the story is much more important than the beginning. The beginning and the middle of our story aren’t irrelevant though. To the contrary, they put our lives up till now, in context. We can’t change the past, what we did, or what was done to us (for good or for bad). But we can use our experiences to help others to get through their own. The Bible assures us of this. In Romans 8:28 it reads, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” And in Genesis 50:20 it reads, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
We also can’t live in the past, either with longing or regret. The only way to live, moving into our future, is by looking forward. Imagine for a moment, that you are driving a car. You wouldn’t get very far by looking only in the rear-view mirror. In fact, it would be disastrous to try. Of course we are aware of what is past, but our emphasis is in what lies ahead. The Bible speaks of this as well. In Philippians 3:12-14 it reads, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
God doesn’t care where we began as much as He cares where we end. He isn’t limited by where we started out in life, or by the mistakes we made along the way. He knows the end from the beginning, and He created us with a specific purpose in mind, to achieve that end. He loves us enough to accept us where we are. And then He gently, patiently, and lovingly, helps us to grow into the person He created us to be.
So how does our story end? That’s up to us. We have been given the gift of choice. We get to choose whether or not we accept the salvation that is freely offered to us. We get to choose how we live our life. We get to choose our attitudes and reactions to the twists and turns of the journey of life. And we get to choose whether we allow God to be in control of our life and trust that His plans for us are best, or whether we stubbornly hold on to our own way of doing things and end up with much less than the best that He has for us.
As I reflect on my own life, attitudes and actions, it is easy to see that God still has some work to do. As a daughter of the King, I’m not yet where I want to be, but I thank God that I am no longer where I was. When I turned my life over to Him, nearly ten years ago, he began changing me from the inside out. I’m no longer the person I used to be, but I really and truly like who I’ve become, and am becoming. To God alone, belongs the glory!
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” ~ Philippians 1:6