The Story’s End

Psalm 139

It was a dark and stormy night . . . Call me Ishmael . . . In the beginning . . . Once upon a time . . . That’s it.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago (maybe not so long for some), you were born.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Almighty God.  That’s how it all started for you, but what happened next?

We all love a good story, with twists and turns, but the favorites always have a great ending—a positive, triumphant, happy ending.

If you’ve had any time to reflect on your own life’s story, you’ve probably found some things you’d rather edit out before the final version is released.  I know I do.  I look at my life and see how immature, prideful, and hypocritical I’ve been.  I see the words and attitudes I wish I could take back, and all the times I learned something and acted as if no one else could possibly know it in all the world—except me.  If they did know, it would have changed their life—like it changed mine.  Like the time I figured out (in college) that the sun and moon were two different things.  Or, when I read the verses in the Holy Bible about not having tattoos or body piercings and told my Bible Study friends. The next week they came in without earrings, but I had bought a new pair.

We’re messes, aren’t we?

Oh, but God . . . How completely He loves us and knows us and uses us—if we will allow it.  We must allow it, not inhibit or quench His Spirit.  But, we must be careful not to force our way or our ministry into being, either.  We should not even be aware we are being used save for faith in that fact alone.

If we do this, the end of our story won’t really be the end at all, will it?

Our story will continue to bear fruit long after this earthly life is done. It will be like the life of Myrtle Cliburn, Claude Truett, Tom O’Connor, Jim Frith, Jacqueline Nimmons, Mary Hogue, W. R. Poage, Renee Elliott, and others whose lives continue to show God’s love to me long after their passing.

There was a family I knew in Trinity, Texas who prayed long and hard many years for their father/grandfather to accept Jesus as Savior.  He was an alcoholic and had made a few half-hearted attempts to follow Christ, but never seemed to change.  One Sunday night he surprised all of us by walking in the back of the church near the end of the service.  He said, very emotionally, that he wanted to give his whole life to Jesus—not just part, and that he was sorry and embarrassed for the way he had lived.  The change that took place in that man’s life changed his whole family.  He passed away the next year, but that family is forever changed for the better.

The beauty of the story is not in its beginning, it’s in how the story ends.

Call me Ishmael.

Goodnight, Runners.

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