We come into this world not of our choosing, but by the actions of our parents and through the sovereign design of God. Birthdays are important celebrations of the beginning of our lives. Our celebrations of beginnings signals that we value the start-ups in our lives, be it the beginning of school, the beginning of marriage, the beginning of a new life, perhaps free from alcohol, or lived in a new house, or in a new city. Beginnings provide us a way to categorize time.
Beginnings and endings are like water and oil. They are hard to mix, but they can be shaken up and blended together for a time, causing confusion about boundaries. Calling the first day of school a beginning in turn marks the end of summer vacation, or with a five-year-old, the end of life as it’s been known. Beginnings and endings are intertwined. Consider death, mostly thought of as an ending. It can actually be an opening into a great reality, a glorious beginning.
We ultimately stand beyond the bounds of time. All of us have a beginning within time. None of us has an end. We will die in this world, but we will live eternally, with or without Jesus.
I remember as a young girl asking my father, “How old is God?” “He doesn’t have an age; he’s always been” came the answer. Jesus Christ is called the Alpha and Omega (first and last). He is before time and all things hold together in him (Colossians 1:15). As finite creatures, time weighs upon us, a heavy and unavoidable load to carry. We are propelled along by its great unavoidable arms. We are pushed into beginnings or endings we did not ask for. My husband and I were pushed into parenthood earlier than we expected. I reluctantly took a job that turned into a beautiful stage in my life. My seminary career ended differently than I would have planned.
Beginnings and endings can be beyond our control, and sometimes, even beyond our ability to sort out and understand.
Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
We may have eternity in our hearts, but we still cannot fathom God’s ways.