Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: End (02/13/06)
TITLE: MAN'S END - GOD'S BEGINNING
By Grace Gana
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“The End” is the standard conclusion to every production, the culmination of all that was before. It conveys a sense of finality and completion, a sense that it’s over. It indicates the grand finale, the ultimate adjournment. But what often conveys a sense of finality and closure for man is usually heaven’s cue to step onto the scene, for man’s end is oftentimes the launching pad for God’s beginning!
The Bible is replete with instances demonstrating this. In Luke 5, Peter and his companions had been fishing all night without success. Being experts at their trade, they knew all the ins and outs of fishing, yet they couldn’t catch one fish! The Bible never indicates Jesus had any prior experience as a fisherman, yet he had the effrontery to tell the professionals what to do. “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch”1 was his audacious command. The carpenter-turned-preacher essentially told them how to go about their business!
Peter’s response is typical of anyone who has experienced the disappointment of failure. “We’ve worked long and hard, we’ve put our all into it, we’ve applied the best of our knowledge, we’ve employed every available resource, but we’ve failed miserably.
What was Peter saying? “We’ve come to the end of ourselves Lord, this concludes our fishing expedition”. Then almost reluctantly, he adds an obligatory addendum, “nevertheless, at your Word, I will let down the net”2. The unabridged, unrecorded thoughts that probably ran through Peter’s mind as he uttered these words were probably something like this, “I won’t point out the obvious, but I’m the pro, you’re the preacher. It would make more sense for you to stick to what you know, and let me handle my expertise. But out of respect for you, I’ll do as you say”.
The resultant miracle caused Peter and his companions to change their attitudes in a hurry. “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man oh Lord!” 3 was a far cry from the doubtful reluctance with which they had heeded the command just moments before.
What happened here? What was a forgone conclusion to Peter and his friends was the breeding ground for the demonstration of God’s great power. The fishermen’s end was God’s beginning. What they deemed as failure was God’s opportunity for success. When they allowed God to do something with their failure, they discovered that He could turn the worst failures into the most resounding success. All He needed was the material of their trust and obedience.
Mary and Martha experienced this truth in an even greater dimension. Their brother Lazarus had just died. The finality they felt over his death was clearly expressed when each independently said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 4 In other words, “If you’d made it a few days earlier, you could have prevented his death, but now that he’s gone, there’s nothing you can do about it. Thanks for coming anyway.”
Think about it. What could be more final than death, life’s ultimate end?
Jesus’ response totally blew their theology. (My paraphrase) “Ahh, but don’t you know that the end for you is just the beginning for Me? Death to you means it’s all over, but in My Masterful hands, death means newness of life. In My kingdom, what you sow is not made alive until it dies. And when it dies in corruption, dishonor and weakness, it is raised in incorruption, glory and power5, for its earthly end marks its eternal beginning!”
“Have you not known? Have you not heard?” 67 The end of our own strength and resources releases God’s infinitesimal power to do the impossible and cause us to soar high above every circumstance.
Are you at the end of your rope today? Does your situation look dead and hopeless? If so, you’re a prime candidate for experiencing God’s newness of life! When the difficulties of life bring you to your wits’ end, cry out to the “Beginning of your end” and watch Him perform His awesome wonders in the deep7! Your “end” is just a wonderful opportunity to experience His power and new beginnings!
1 Luke 5:4
2 Luke 5:5
3 Luke 5:8
4 John 11:21, 32
5 1Cor 15:35; 42-43
6 Isaiah 40:28
7 Psalm 107:23-30
(All Scriptures quoted from the New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc)
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