When I was growing up watching movies as a kid many of them would finish by going to a black screen with the words, "The End." This meant the movie was over and if it was a good movie you were a bit sad it was over. If you didn't like the ending you would complain about it and wish you never watched it. There is a finality to the words "The End" that leave us thinking and reflecting.
Each of us is living a story. Imagine your life in the form of a story or a movie. We can think back to chapters of our lives that were good or bad or boring. We are left thinking and reflecting on those chapters and how they shape us as individuals. I want to point out that if you are still living and breathing it is not the end of your story. It may be the end of a chapter in your story or the beginning of a new one, but if you are alive the last page or last black screen is not there yet. You are still in the process of living your story. Are you caught up on reviewing the last chapter or focused on writing the next one?
I love to tell stories and I am always encouraged as a preacher/teacher that Jesus also told stories. Good stories stick with us. Tough stories stick with us. In the midst of our stories, there is a God story waiting to be revealed.
God Is Working in Your Story
Even when we think about the end of the story we might assume that God is no longer working in our story. In our church, we have been going through the Joseph story and looking at resilience. Every time we think it is "the end" of the story for Joseph, God says, "Nope, just the end of another chapter." God is still working on the story when all seems lost. Joseph is almost killed and thrown into a cistern - not the end of the story. He is sold into slavery - not the end of the story. He is falsely accused and imprisoned - not the end of the story. He is forgotten and left in prison - not the end of the story. Joseph is a story of resilience where God is still working as an author writing the next chapter. You can find the story in Genesis chapters 37 to 45.
God is a God who says this is not the end of your story! Even when we see the black screen with the words "The End" it really is not the end! Think of another story where Lazarus is dead and in a tomb (John 11). Everyone is pretty sure this is the end of Lazarus's story. The last chapter has been written and the finality has already sunk into the hearts and minds of his sisters. But with Jesus, the son of God, he basically shows up to announce, "Not the end of the story!" Next thing we see Lazarus walking out of the tomb with his grave clothes still on.
This Is Not The End
Looking at the Jesus story we see that he is crucified and buried in a stone sealed tomb. Definitely the end of the story. No way he is coming out of this one! On the third day, God moves the stone to say, "Not the end of the story!" In fact, the story of Jesus is never-ending. We who are in Christ don't have an ending to our story either. We are given a never-ending series of books and stories through eternal life. God is like J.K. Rowling with the story of our lives. God keeps writing.
No matter what you are going through today know that this is not the end of your story. God is with you as with Joseph and Jesus. God is always working on the next chapter of your story. This is not the end.
Join me Sunday as continue to look at the story of Joseph!
Sunday Service: 9:30 am