“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” was the most profound line in the popular song “Closing Time” by Semisonic. It seems like every time we reach the end of a year, we can’t help but look back at all the memorable things that happened to us; and, at the same time, we look with hope, relief, and sometimes, with dread and fear towards the coming new year.
Sadly, we tend to have a longer and more vivid recollection of the bad/sad times than the good/happier times. 2017 wasn’t really a very pleasant year for me. So much had happened and it seemed to me that most of them were sad and unpleasant things.
But this kind of behavior and thinking leads to fear and despair. None of us enjoy it much when things we love are taken away from us. We complain and rage against God because we feel like the things He is taking away from us are dear and costly. We don’t like it because shouldn’t God be blessing us (specially when we feel like we are faithful to Him) and not taking things away from us? Our definition of blessings is one of addition and not subtraction. When God adds to our good things, our enjoyment and our pleasure, then it is blessing; but, when He takes away from these, we do not view it as blessings any longer.
In our selfishness and self-centeredness, we fail to recognize the sovereignty of God in our lives. Many times His greatest blessings involve taking things away from us so we can gain more. We fail to see that He will take away the good so we can have the best. We tend to be like the wife of Job who, after losing all they had – wealth and family, said to him “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).
Life won’t always go the way we want it to be. There will always be difficulties, there will always be endings whether we like it or not. But true to the song, each ending is the beginning of something new.
However, we are very resistant to change especially when it is something precious that is being taken away from us. This cycle of life though, is akin to the changes that a diamond undergoes.
Diamonds are one of the most precious, beautiful and expensive gemstone in the world. Have you ever wondered how diamonds end up to that way? A diamond in its original form is quite rough, lumpy and unsightly. In fact, it looks just like an ordinary stone. But in the hands of an expert, it ends up being that beautiful, multifaceted gem that we all know. Diamonds are not mass produced from factories. Each stone needs a different approach. The expert will first assess the rough stone and then plan how the final product will be; then, based on the assessment, he will then cut the rough to retain the best part. After that he will grind away the rough edges and create the multi-facets of the stone, then polish it to show off the final product. It is a tedious and difficult task that involves planning, patience and expertise so that they can come end up with the maximum size and weight. Each step in the process needs to be done completely before the next step can be started; and it takes a lot of time because each step must be done carefully and slowly. The end of each step marks the beginning of the next step in the process until the whole process is complete.
Just like a diamond, we all have rough edges in our lives. These rough edges need to be cut, ground and polished for us to be the person God wants us to be. The process of cutting, grinding and polishing is never pleasant. In fact, it is oftentimes quite painful. More so when we, in our short-sightedness, hold on dearly to these rough edges. But God is the master gem maker and He knows that we need to go through each step in the process to be able to reflect His image once more. He looks at each one of us and knows which parts needed to be removed so that we can be who we are meant to be.
Once we realize this, we will gain a new perspective towards the things happening in our lives. We will see how God is moving in our lives and know that, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
Allow yourself some time to reflect and recall all that happened to you this year: the joys, the pains, the laughter and the tears. Try to think of the ways the Lord blessed you this year. You will be surprised at how good the Lord had been to you and your loved ones.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 tells us that “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”
When we stop struggling with God and start allowing Him full control over our lives – resting in His love and abiding by His leading – it will not only help us begin the new year right but it will also help us finish each year well. 2017 will end in a few hours. What is done is done. We can no longer undo it. And where 2017 ends, 2018 begins. Let’s start strongly by trusting God and His perfect plan, less of self and more of Him. May we all have a blessed God-filled 2018. 🙂