AT THE END IS A NEW BEGINNING
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. Isaiah 46:9-10
All good things must one day come to an end... I have heard that for a very long time in different aspects of my life. Different stages that we all go through as we say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. I just know that for all of us, we are able to mark our lives with the milestones that line our path. Many of you and your parents will be reaching this point in the next few days or weeks that are ahead of you. Points where you will graduate either middle school, high school, college, or just the next stage in your journey. With each year that passes we all have to look back and see exactly where God has brought us every step of the way. It is kinda crazy to be honest. It seems like only yesterday we were stepping back in after a long time of uncertainty. It does not mean that everything was exactly like it use to be, but it was something that was a new beginning. We have all been able to hopefully say good-bye to the way that we did things in the past. We have been able to re-evaluate the things that are more important in our lives and hopefully started to hold on to those things a little more tightly. I know that we all struggle to really to realize that doors are closing on chapters of our lives, but with every door that closes.... a new door is opened and a new chapter begins.
The same is true with our spiritual journey as well. As we continue to seek to find new ways to discern and dig deeper into what God's plan is for our lives, we have to realize that there comes a point and time where we have to grow in our desire for learning more about God. I know that when I was younger, I would always say that I had plenty of time to really get deeper in my relationship with God, but the days passed and the years passed and now I am
looking on the other side of the door and saying, "Man, why did I not do this sooner?" Why didn't I honestly begin to step into the Word of God in such a way that allowed me to grow deeper and be better prepared for the things of this world. I know that I have studied in multiple schools of theology and continue to stretch myself to find out more about God's desires... but how did I miss the new beginning of God's plan for such a long time. For many of us, it is because we truly want to keep that old door open. We like how the past made us feel and how we were able to sit in that moment if just for one second longer. We were not ready to embark on the next step of that journey because it meant that we had to leave our old life behind and look forward to the new life that God has in store for us. If we could just hold on to that moment... maybe it will not go away. But it does. Life continues to move forward and we are able to experience joy and pain in the same moment. As I am thinking of the ones who are turning the tassel and preparing to see God's next step... I know that they are in that time of in between. Just like a mom who is not ready for their child to go to pre-k or a middle schooler not really excited about high school, or even a college graduate stepping into the real world... there is this huge marker that God is placing before them in preparation for the next door that has already been opened.
As we look again at our word for the week, REFUGE, we are able to truly see how God is using the words of Isaiah to remind us who God ultimately is. At this time, Israel was tempted to waver between the Lord and pagan gods. Isaiah steps in and affirms the sole lordship of God. God, as our refuge, is unique in His knowledge and in His control of the future. God knows when doors need to be shut for our protection and knows exactly when others need to be opened for our growth. God as our refuge has a consistency in carrying out His purpose and that includes His protection for our lives. When we are in trouble or are tempted, we are quickly reminded to continue to pursue our commitment to God. When we doubt or are in need, we are immediately able to draw strength from His Word that will help us to navigate through the troubled waters and find a safe and secure refuge prepared for us by God. Isaiah understood this on a personal level when God closed one door and opened another in Isaiah's life. He thought that everything was good as long as he lived out his life in his current state, but God showed him truth and opened a new door for Isaiah to be mouthpiece for God. There is nothing that we can do to alter the time frame, but to accept the door that God closes as providence and look forward to the doors He will open for our future.
As another year ends for our students, I am always saddened and excited. I am sad to realize that maybe we missed out on a lot of opportunities to help plant seeds in the lives of our students. I am excited to watch the opportunities that will arise for the doors that God will
open to community during the summer. I am hopeful for the growth that many will have as it pertains to the future of the lives that are stake. As God continues to close one door another door will open and we will continue to be reminded of who is honestly in control of all things. Yes, we still have a freedom of choice as we move forward on this journey, but never forget that the ultimate authority lies with God. I challenge us all to look over the last year or so and realize the doors God has closed for a reason. I pray that we don't try to do everything in our power to reopen them because they were closed for a reason. I also pray that we look forward to the next adventures that are going to occur. I am excited to see new opportunities that can stretch us beyond our borders if we are just wise enough to step out on faith and believe in God. Remember that every part of the journey is only for a season, but that the God of all creation is ready to show us all the end of one path and the beginning of another. May we be faithful to follow and take hold in excitement for what is to come.