Finality and Hope

In life we experience many endings. Those things we wish would remain and last slip through our hands like grains of sand. The list of them is lengthy and varied, occurring so regularly it exists as an undercurrent or theme to mortality. For every exciting event, we feel a low when it is over. Relationships cease or are severed. Friendships, careers, physical wellness, youth, cherished periods of happiness, financial stability, all can come to an end. Some, such as youth, are guaranteed to if we live long enough, while the loss of parents, spouses, and loved ones bring sorrow.

I react to endings with a sense of deep sadness. Circumstances are fleeting. I feel the good should remain, yet it changes, it ends. My reaction may have a great deal to do with the formative years of my life. I do not think this response is uncommon, however. It is part of being human. Finality is painful. When loved ones pass or tragic events impact us, it seems wrong to us. Though inevitable, our hearts cry out about the way things are.

The greatest finality we face is enmity with our own Creator. We have such deep longings and turmoil within because God created us with great potential. We were fashioned to live forever in relationship with Him, centered in purpose in Him, and bring Him glory. Then we rebelled. Since we are made in God’s image, with personality, we have the sense of the ultimate aching termination and tragedy of the fall. "For the wages of sin is death", Romans 6:23a. These wages are the consequent result of being human since that fall and our own accountability for our behavior. In a fallen world, joy is fleeting, comfort eludes us, and bad things happen. We cannot hold on to a hope that is more than wishful thinking.

How can we find lasting confidence? On our own, the idea of hope is haunted by the human condition and its limits. Where can our aching hearts truly rest? It is here we consider the second part of verse 6:23 in Romans. "For the wages of sin is death… but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". We look up from our emptiness and receive the gift of eternal life. Eternal is a big word, rest and joy that never has an end. God offers mercy and grace we do not deserve, freely given in the most astounding love. We are so wonderfully loved in Jesus Christ. God sacrificed His own Son for us, Jesus willing paid our debt.

The gift of God’s grace, or eternal life, is not an abstraction floating around somewhere, nor is it assumed as taken for granted whether or not we respond. Like any gift, it must be received to benefit us. A couple is not married until they say, “I do”. We must take the step to say, “I do” to Jesus, “I do receive Jesus today”.

Life is full of trouble and difficulty, but glorious joy is found in the God who created us to have an intimate relationship with Him. Finality is painful in our experiences, loss and endings we will know. Yet, in God’s wonderful Son we are assured that no, all is not lost. We have hope to move forward in every defeat or change. God has the final say of redemption and victory over all things in Jesus. It can start in the here and now if we cling in dependence on the Savior.

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