What do you think of when you absorb the impact of that word? Perhaps like me, some occasions are cause for celebration, others heartbreak. Some endings are a blend of both. My annual banishment (escape?) to land below the frost line is reaching its end sooner than expected. I am needed up north to help with an ending for someone else, albeit an opportunity for a beginning. Thus, I pushed hard to complete my second manuscript, recently enjoying the thrill of tapping out “The End." (Truly, few moments can compare in the life of a writer!)
Endings can be crushing . . . loss of friends, significant others or family, whether a death or hard parting. The finality of dreams unfulfilled, plans that never materialized. The end of being needed by others -- or a career -- in which we found great fulfillment. There are endings to places we loved and lived, the milestone of childhood coming to a close, seasons and relationships in our life to which we shall never return. Perhaps loss of abilities we once had, whether our physical bodies or mental acuity. The recent death of my dear friend’s beloved dog reminded me of my similar loss less than a year ago. Heart-rending endings are hard to plan for, even harder to endure.
There are joyous endings. I think of captives being released, such as Revered Andrew Brunson who recently spoke at Wheaton College about his imprisonment in Turkey. What might that moment have been like on October 12, 2018 when his imprisonment ended? He endured two years of horrific conditions, and then through a God miracle -- and the efforts of Vice President Pence and the Trump administration -- it came to an abrupt conclusion. While not as dramatic, we’ve all experienced victories worth celebrating: the end of challenging scholastic pursuits, a project at work, arduous physical endeavors such as climbing a mountain or completing a triathlon, and -- as I was able to celebrate a few years ago -- the end of cancer treatment.
For those of us who have faced both types of endings, we know that our perspective has everything to do with the ability to embrace change, to see beyond the immediate circumstance. Endings establish a point in time in which we can choose to begin anew. Yet when we are burdened with despair and grief, that opportunity may feel daunting. The future may appear dark and foreboding; our hope fading with the fog of uncertainty blinding us. While in the midst of a difficult ending, even godly counsel may feel more like sandpaper against our open wound. Yet I know not how I would have endured my own difficult endings and heartaches without the promises and encouragement from God’s Word, and without of a loving, faith-based community of friends (and strangers).
Perhaps you are experiencing a difficult ending of your own. Whether you are a weary Christ-follower or know nothing of Him, I assure you comfort awaits everyone in the promises God has provided for humankind. The Creator of the universe can help strengthen and empower you to turn your ending into a new beginning. In Scripture, you have access to words of encouragement -- infused with authentic supernatural authority and power -- that can make a difference to you and to those (continued below photo)
experiencing this trial alongside you. Open his Word – whether digital or bound. Words of hope, wisdom, comfort, promise, encouragement, certainty, love and healing await you!
Here are just a few:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
2 Corinthians 1:3
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:11-12
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking not anything.” James 1:3-4