If you haven’t noticed, or if you don’t have one of those obnoxious friends on FB who LOVES counting down to the next big event, the end of 2014 is coming up fast. Stores are stocked with all the fixins for holiday cooking and baking. Christmas music is being played in the mall, which enrages me. Can’t we get through Thanksgiving first?! But I digress.
In the next month and a half, I will enjoy my favorite holiday (Thanksgiving), turn 31, open Christmas presents (which better include that bearded lumberjack I asked for!) and welcome in 2015. That’s a busy 6 weeks, but all the hustle and bustle won’t distract me from the reality that another year is coming to a close.
I have a hard time with endings. I go through closing credit mourning at the end of every movie. I leave friends houses unannounced so I don’t have to say goodbye. I’ve avoided “Going Away” parties and have contemplated skipping funerals a time or two. I’ve cried at all three of my graduations and at all three of my siblings weddings. Not because I wasn’t happy, but because I knew things would never be like they were.
Thoughts of a new year in the not too distant future, leave me with the same feelings. Things will never be the same. Looking back, I’m disappointed with things I didn’t accomplish and how I will be one year older and still not quite where I’d like to be in life.
Discussing this past year with a dear friend, he mentioned how when he looks back over the past few months all he sees is burning fields and villages. For him, it’s been a year of heartache, devastation, pain and destruction. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you’ve experienced the loss of a relationship or the loss of a dream. Maybe you received some difficult news from the doctor or can’t seem to get your head above water financially.
While talking to my friend, I was reminded of the fields by my house. This year, they were burned– the ground charred and black. “What good can come out of this?” you wonder. Controlled burns help farmers get rid of any left over crop debris, as well as kill weeds and makes the ground ready for next year’s crop to grow. So, while most of us might see devastation, there is actually a good plan in the works.
It’s not to say that everything that happened *was* good. It doesn’t dismiss the pain or belittle your hurts. What it does mean is that what you see as an end– God sees as a beginning. There may be burned down fields and houses, but that is the perfect opportunity for God to come in and start over. Lay a new foundation and build something beautiful.
Reading the story of Joseph (ya, the guy with the colorful coat), only confirms this Truth. This guy didn’t just have one bad year, but years marked with what looked like wreckage. His brothers sold him into slavery, he was wrongly accused of a crime, imprisoned and seemingly forgotten. When he was later reunited with his brothers, now a man of stature and authority, he told them, “What you meant for evil, God meant it for good.” (Gen. 50:20)
There’s some perspective for you.
Instead of mourning over the end of one chapter, let’s celebrate the beginning of something wonderful and full of possibilities. Be encouraged that where you may see destruction and waste, God can make something beautiful from it.
“All this earth. Could all that is lost ever be found? Could a garden come up from this ground at all? You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust. You make beautiful things, You make make beautiful things out of us.” ~Gungor “Beautiful Things”