A Time for a New Beginning?

Beginnings are fresh in my mind as I prepare to get married in less than two months! Beginning together as a married couple is a huge change for both of us. As much as we prepare for the wedding day and spending the rest of our lives together, we really have no way of knowing what is coming our way. We don’t know what trials will hit us, where we will be, or how we are going to survive in an ever changing economy. Nevertheless, uncertainty should not stop us from embarking on what could potentially be one of our greatest adventures.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 KJV

Focusing on Ecclesiastes 3 and on the concept of time, we are reminded that there is a time set out for everything we do as well as for the purpose it was intended.

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We couldn’t really talk about beginnings without mentioning the first beginning. I’m talking about Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created…”  Out of the vastness of nothingness God created a whole universe to explore! From the beginning of the creation of mankind, our purpose was predestined. That purpose was to have a relationship with the Almighty God. In Genesis 3, we see that it was normal for God to come down and walk with Adam and Eve. There are so many times I crave to have that kind of relationship with God! Can you imagine what that must have been like? Of course, we also see in Genesis 3 the reason we are separated from God.

Being separated from God doesn’t mean He is ever far away.  While we can’t enjoy seeing Him or touching Him, we can be assured of His presence around us.

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
Psalm 139:7-10 ESV

Psalm 139 is our reassurance of His presence from the very beginning of our life when He formed us (verses 13-14) to the present where He continues to work in our lives. Not only did He create us individually but He also had a purpose for each of us individually. This is why we will never be like anyone else despite our best efforts! And it also explains why it is so exhausting trying to “fit in”.

To become more like Christ and to enjoy being in His presence should be the ultimate purpose in our journey. A willing heart is the most important part of our relationship with God. It is important because God will ask for some very difficult things from us which will require a heart in full obedience to Him.  In these difficult (and often crazy!) times, we can be assured that the end is for a greater purpose than we can ever imagine.

Christ, as our anchor, provides safety and assurance that we will never be swept away in the storms that constantly come our way!

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”
Isaiah 43:1b-3a ESV

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A Time For Beautiful

I have always been struck by (and slightly jealous of) an artists perspective of everyday life. A painting, a photograph, song lyrics all demonstrate how it is possible to take the ordinary and give it meaning and beauty.

That is what I believe God sees and makes when He looks at us.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time…”
Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV

This verse is not the easiest to comprehend. You don’t have to live a considerable amount of time to experience or see that there is a massive amount of pain and suffering in this world. Is there really anything beautiful about it? But like any artist, God sees what it is and instead of leaving it the mess it is, He makes it into something beautiful that has meaning. As a counsellor I am all about the meaning!

What I have learned is that time is our best friend and our worst enemy.

A simple sentence like “in its time…” throws us straight into the unknown. Well, how much time? Even if we know how much time it is either too far away for us to wait or just not enough! I don’t think I have used the phrase “Ah, that is the perfect amount of time! Great!” And if I have, it was most certainly sarcasm! Nevertheless, whether too much or too little, we are bound by time.

What is striking about time, as we see in Ecclesiastes 3, is its usage. There is a time for everything… death, birth, mourning, rejoicing, planting, harvesting… which leads me to believe that just as there are times when life couldn’t be uglier, there are also times when it is made beautiful by the hand of God.

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And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 1:6 ESV

All credit goes to God for the work He does in us but we still have a part to play. Whenever I am beginning with someone in counselling, there are essentially 5 things that I want to prepare anyone for in this process of being changed/transformed:

  1. Work… hard work. Hibernating doesn’t work! Although I have imagined how nice it would be to remain snuggled up in my bed as God transformed me from caterpillar to butterfly… I think God laughed when I ran that by Him!
  2. What surfaces. You are not always going to like what you see. That is a good thing. Be thankful that God is taking out what you don’t like seeing!
  3. Doubt. You may experience this often. From everywhere. Keep Bible verses close to you as reminders and encouragement.
  4. Loneliness. You may feel alone at times. Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us. If you feel lonely and like no one cares… chances are that people really have no idea what is going on inside you (unless they have mastered mind-reading…) or they really have no idea how to show support. People get scared of what they don’t understand and sometimes deal with it the wrong way. But it is ok to ask for support (which can be specific) and encouragement from others. We weren’t placed in the body of Christ for no reason!
  5. Surprises. You honestly never know what will happen. People surprise you, relationships surprise you, situations change and surprise you, you surprise yourself, God moves and surprises you! It happens… seriously!
It doesn’t really matter to God what you bring to Him. There is nothing that is hidden from His eyes. He only requires our hearts and full obedience.