The end is just the beginning

By Joan Clayton: PNT columnist

Remember that wonderful feeling of “senioritis” around graduation time? It seems the long-awaited day will never arrive. The next stage of life beckons quickly.

Each time I look across the sea of graduates, I have hope and dreams for each one. When caps go into the air, I ask the Lord to lead them. Our future, our children’s future and our grandchildren’s future depend on them.

In a way, 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 and we stay 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 given even though it isn’t returned. We continue to give, though we never receive. We are on our way to that Promised Land, and we prohibit anything or anyone from clouding 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 our 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 good-bye letter, “I have to go to third grade because I’m growing up.” What an amazing insight for a 7-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 ex-students, I want to be that same trusting, eager-to-learn child in God’s classroom. Now matter how old I become, I am still his child who is learning life’s lessons while 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 your “Teacher” is on your side and teaches you and me to overcome life’s hurdles. Be thankful for his Spirit, who stays with you in the “recesses” of your life to help and tutor you in things you need to learn.

What a way to live, in “God’s 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 8:37-39 NIV)

For the child of God, the end is not the end but only the beginning.