Beginnings and Endings

Read Genesis 28:10-17. This is the story of Jacob's leaving home and his vision at Bethel.

So this was the end result of Jacob's scheming and stealing away of the birthright from his brother Esau. Esau was out to kill Jacob for his treachery, and so Jacob had to flee. Leaving everything behind, Jacob sets out fearfully towards an uncertain future. He certainly had not planned for things to end up like this.

Yet even as this story comes to an end, Jacob discovers that he is just beginning another story. In the time of darkest prospects, God gives to Jacob the brightest promises. One moment Jacob fears to look ahead at all, and the next moment Jacob has everything in the world to look forward to. In his fear and loneliness, God comes to Jacob and promises to be with him. In this revelation, Jacob confesses, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it."

We stand today at an apparent ending of a story, at the coming to an ending of a life. Somehow we are always caught by surprise by the endings. We have not expected or planned for them. Like Jacob, we dread to look to a future that is no future. We too are fearful, apprehensive, and perhaps, not a little bit angry.

Yet do we have any beginning in our situation? What bright promise do we have? Can the Lord be in the midst of antiseptic and blood and tubes and machines and medicines? Could it be that even the place of dying "is none other than the house of God....the gate of heaven?"

God came to Jacob at a desperate time in his life in a desert place and promised to be with him. The presence of God was the assurance of the new beginning. Through Christ, God has promised also to us that he will be with us always (Matthew 28:20), and that nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:38,39). We do have beginning and hope and future, though in this place we may not know it. We pray that we may know it.

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Lord, we confess that you, as Creator, are the beginning of all things. As Almighty God, you are also the ending of all things. At this time we see the ending more clearly, and we are afraid and unsure, and we do not understand. Lord, let us know your presence with us. Give us the assurance that there is some new beginning, some future in you. Show your love in this place and give us peace and promise. Amen.

Introduction Beginnings and Endings Why me, God? Lord, if you had been here...
Past, Present, and Future The Warfare Is Ended The Cross Now and for Evermore

1998 Mark Vitalis Hoffman - CrossMarks Christian Resources -