While some of us bemoan the waning of summer, with its piña colada tanning lotion and flipflops, others enthusiastically hail the return of autumn’s pumpkin spice cappuccinos and woolly sweaters.
The author of Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” What he wants us to grasp is the inevitability of change. Nothing stays the same forever. There are cycles and seasons in life, which means that all things must eventually come to an end and give way to something new. Sometimes endings are critically needed, and long overdue.
After she had been thrown down a flight of cement stairs by her abusive husband, her doctor stitched up her lacerated face and bound her cracked skull. As she was being wheeled out of E.R. he leaned over and slipped her the business card of a local safe house for women, whispering, “Please call this number! I may not be able to put you back together the next time they bring you in.” Those brutally honest, yet loving words of warning finally penetrated the emotional fog and numbness of decades of trauma, denial, and shame. With fear and trembling, that precious 80-year-old woman dialled that number and began an epic journey to freedom, healing, and happiness. Weeks before she passed away, she made a monumental decision to spend her hard-earned money on moving into a gorgeous Club-Med style assisted-living community. She absolutely glowed, basking in the warmth of genuine love, respect, attentive care, and free-spirited companionship. A brave and necessary ending did indeed give rise to a beautiful beginning for that dear lady.
But what about when wonderful seasons and cherished relationships with those we love, come to an end? In Acts 20 we see the Apostle Paul telling his beloved Ephesian congregation that the Holy Spirit is compelling him to push on to Jerusalem, even though he has no idea what will happen to him once he arrives there – apart from the fact that in every successive city he travels to, the Holy Spirit warns him that trouble and hardship lie ahead. As Paul’s last loving words of caution and encouragement die away, he kneels with all of them and prays. We are told, “They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.” Sometimes life’s changes are out of our hands and beyond our control. In those times, we seek God’s guidance and rely on his strength and grace to walk the path ahead. No one knew this or exemplified it better than Jesus, God’s own Son.
In John 12:23-24, knowing that his death on the cross was imminent, Jesus told his disciples, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Jesus knew that his death was a temporary, but necessary ending that would result in countless precious souls from every tribe, tongue, and nation being liberated from the shackles of sin and death and birthed into glorious new and abundant life.
Those who believe in God’s Word and have read the closing chapters of the Book know how it ends. Revelation 21:4-5 tells us, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
As my husband, Mark and I prepare for new ministry assignments in Alberta, fifty years of calling Castlegar “home” and ten years of serving our beloved congregation at Kinnaird Church of God are drawing to a close. I am eternally grateful for all the love shared with this wonderful community and I pray that each one of you will trust God’s unshakeable promises in which we can all anchor our souls as life’s seasons come and go, and the labour pains of necessary endings birth brand-new, beautiful beginnings!
Love & Blessings,
Pastor Cynthia Pelletier