Beginnings and endings fascinate me. Being a writer, whether of fiction or truth, I learned that a good beginning also demands a good ending. We probably all can recall reading stories that didn’t satisfy us because of a slow or poorly-written beginning, or an ending that gave no emotional satisfaction. A strong, sturdy beginning with a satisfying ending completes a story’s cycle.
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
I used to own an exercise bike, the kind I pedaled to increase my heart rate and to lose weight. I used it, lost a little weight, got tired of it and quit. Later I tried again. Same results. Again and again until I eventually sold it. Like millions of others, I presume, I found the stationary cycle way too boring. I’d much rather take a walk, knowing I’d at least get somewhere.
Our whole lives consist of a series of cycles. From birth to childhood to adulthood to death. From one day to the next. From one lesson to another, one problem to another and one sin to another. And to think it all began with Adam and Eve, perpetuating throughout history without end. The Old Testament records story after story of how the Israelites lived in a cycle of sin and repentance and deliverance. When God forgave them of sin and blessed them with good things, they eventually walked away from His blessings and began worshiping other gods. When God turned His back on their sin, they lost their blessing, forced to face their enemies until they cried out to God for forgiveness. Restored blessings led to repeated sins which led to more tears and sorrow. What a cycle!
But we’re so like the Israelites. During seasons of blessing, we become proud, deciding we can depend on ourselves for life’s blessings. Round and round we go, until we come to the end of our proverbial rope and cry out to God.
Only two things would have kept the Israelites—and will keep us—from repeating such a cycle of living. The first is trust. God’s people exchanged their trust in Him for trust in themselves and that of other gods. We sometimes do the same. The other is obedience. One of my favorite hymns is Trust and Obey, which tells us “there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”
John 8:21 says it all. “If you continue in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” Trust and obedience, the two most vital ways to be happy, at peace and fulfilled, will keep us from the nonproductive, endless cycle of living. Such trust and obedience, with help from the Holy Spirit, need to come every day to bring success and victory. But the rewards are, like God’s other cycles of life, worth the effort.
Lord, thank You for giving us second chances. Give us the compulsion to trust in You alone and to follow Your Word every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.