Thursday, December 27, 2007

The End Is in Sight

Another year is coming to an end. Some people will remember 2007 as a happy and successful time; others are all too glad to tell it goodbye. And there are always those who look back on last January's long-broken resolutions, and moan, "I've wasted another year. I didn't accomplish a thing!"

Regarding my own 2007 resolutions, I did well on two out of five (limit evening business events; don't join any new groups) and so-so on two others (do a good deed every day; stop treating leisure activities "as if they had quotas to be filled and time clocks to be punched"). Number five--"do at least 1,000 words' worth of writing every work day"--I consistently stuck to at first; but output fell off somewhere around late May.

That's the story of many Christian lives: started well, finished poorly. Brimmed with enthusiasm at the beginning, then slipped back into worldly living. Allowed "the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth [to] choke [the Word], making it unfruitful" (Mt. 13:22, NIV). While such people may not lose their salvation, they are unlikely to enter heaven in unmitigated triumph (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10-15).

Other Christians, sincere and fervent in their faith, would gladly take the lowest spot in heaven in exchange for any kind of end to their present troubles. They may be coping with exceptionally heavy and long-lasting responsibility or pain; or they may just be tired of living in feeble or worn-out bodies. They are the ones who groan loudest with the longing to exchange their earthly "tents" for something permanent and perfect (cf. 2 Cor. 5:1-4).

The good news is that our struggles will not last forever. God will, in His own time, receive us all into His eternal Kingdom. Then we will never again be troubled by pain, futility, or loneliness.

A happy ending is coming!

Does the weight of your task press upon you
Until you no longer can stand?
Does even the strength to crawl onward
Seem something beyond your command?
Remember your task was assigned you
By He Whose own burden is light,
And He is the One Who works in you:
Take courage, the end is in sight!

Does the pain of your life seem unending
And all hope seem lost in the gloom?
Does all you can see of the future
Seem clouded by shadows of doom?
Remember that God holds the future,
And He gives a song in the night;
In Him is all hope and all comfort:
Take courage, the end is in sight!

Has your body grown weary and feeble?
Has strength passed away with the years?
Have eyes bright with hope for the future
Grown dim and beclouded with tears?
Remember God's Kingdom is coming,
Where all will forever be bright,
And life on this earth as a shadow:
Take courage, the end is in sight!

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