December 30

God is Glorified Through Endings

“A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1-2)

I am writing this devotion from my bed in a rehab facility where I have been for eighteen days, which is eight more days than I expected to be here. The surgery went fine, but the rehab has not gone as I expected. All thought this stage of my recovery would have ended and that would have been a great relief. If I were home, it would have meant that my greatest pain and most challenging work was finished. However, rather than be at the end of that stage, I seem stuck in the middle, and I do not know why (yet). Endings symbolize many things: accomplishments, loss, relief, and always change. The most profound change we will ever face in our lives is our death; existence will not be as it was. When someone else close to us dies, our lives also change, even more than when a child is born, or a wedding is celebrated. Endings are final.

We know that God works all things together according to his good purposes (Romans 8:28). He will use a good name to remind us of the work that only he can do in life since goodness can only be found in Christ. Every Christian who dies is a testimony to our Savior’s redeeming grace.  There is more serious talk about life, the meaning of life, and the special grace of salvation at a funeral than there is at birth, where we should rejoice in God’s general grace to all people who are born. John Gill puts it this way: [Deceased Christians] are meet for heaven; the righteousness of Christ on them, and so have a title to it; they are such who have hope in their death, and die in faith and in the Lord: their death is better than their birth; at their birth they come into the world under the imputation and guilt of sin, with a corrupt nature; are defiled with sin, and under the power of it, liable in themselves to condemnation and death for it: at the time of their death they go out justified from sin through the righteousness of Christ, all being expiated by his sacrifice, and pardoned for his sake; they are washed from the faith of sin by the blood of Christ, and are delivered from the power and being of it by the Spirit and grace of God; and are secured from condemnation and the second death: at their coming into the world they are liable to sin yet more and more; at their going out they are wholly freed.” *

Today is a good day to consider what endings have taken place in 2018, and may still come in the next day. Obviously, some things are not meant to end, since January 1 is an arbitrary date on the calendar. But perhaps there are some issues, torments, or burdens that the Lord would have end before you begin the new year. Will you seek his wisdom on this last Sabbath of 2018 for what might be put away in your life, to move forward with him?

* John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:1, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ecclesiastes-7.html

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