With God, there are no endings

By Joan Clayton : Religion Columnist

Remember that wonderful feeling of “senioritis” around graduation time? It seemed that long awaited day would never arrive. We could hardly wait to pursue the next stage of life.

My husband, being the high school principal, presented the diplomas and blessed the seniors as they walked across the stage. Each time I looked across the sea of graduates I silently prayed for the hopes and dreams before them. When those caps went up into the air I prayed, “Lord, keep your hand upon these young adults. Shield and bless their lives. Lead them as they go their way.”

My prayers still follow the graduates. Our future, our children’s future and yes, our grandchildren’s future depends upon them.

In a sense all of us are in the “School of Life.” We have hard assignments at times. Disappointments, misunderstandings, illnesses, and loss of loved ones occur, but we press on. … “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 KJV).

So we stay in the fight. We stay in the race and we run to win. To attain the diploma we give up the right to retaliate when others do us wrong. We forfeit the right to respond with animosity and resentment. Love is not withheld because love is not returned. We continue to give, though we never receive. Wrongs are forgiven. We don’t look to this world for recompense, but look to Jesus, the “Alpha and Omega.”

We are on our way to that Promised Land and we prohibit anything or anyone to cloud our vision.

We may have difficult challenges in life’s school, but we bounce back because no one can cripple our love, corrode our faith, take away our peace, silence our courage, quench our spirit, destroy confidence, erase God’s promises, steal our happy memories, shatter the hope of heaven or lessen the power of the resurrection.

One of my second grade students wrote in her goodbye letter, “I have to go to third grade because I’m growing up.” What an amazing insight for a seven year old. She realized she must move on to the next stage of life.

So do we. Each stage of life is another step, another challenge and another opportunity. Like my students I want to be that same trusting, eager to learn child in God’s classroom. No matter how old I become, I am still his child learning life’s lessons and he encourages me as I go, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands …” (Isaiah 49:16 NIV).

Be glad you are in the Lord’s classroom. Be thankful that your Teacher is on your side teaching you and me how to overcome hurdles in life. Be thankful for his Spirit who stays with you in the “recesses” of your life to help you and tutor you in the things you need to learn.

What a way to live. I love this “School of Life.” Every day with Jesus is a day of adventure and excitement. The cycle of life is a wondrous thing.

When that final “bell” rings and time in life’s school is over all of us want to receive a diploma with our names written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life.”

Until then, please know this assurance: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38).
For the child of God, the end is not the end but only the beginning!