One of life’s most hazardous moments is recognizing you’ve come to the end of a season, and you will have to navigate a graceful exit. The clueless call it done and simply walk away. What’s the big deal? When it’s over, it’s over! Yah? What planet are you from? If Scorched Earth Policy is not a luxury you can maintain, consideration and diplomacy will be required. How you close the chapter, say your goodbyes and wave gentle arrivederci is going to have significant, long-lasting repercussions. You’d better make it good.
In general, human beings do not love change. We enjoy predictability, we thrive in consistency. It’s a primitive driving force in homo sapiens to build environments enclosed with comfort, insulated with dependable relationships and work to have some mastery over. We cocoon ourselves with the best houses we can find, the most reliable vehicles we can afford and pursuits possible for excellence. Just in case, we purchase insurance, wrestling random volatility to the ground on every front. But, as much as we love to take initiative and shape the process, we almost never control the ending. Duration is not within our power.
Terminations, consummations and completions are highly underrated. Almost all the Ho-Ha goes on the front side, when ideas, relationships or ventures are being birthed. Hardly anyone recognizes when conclusions are upon them, or their future significance. The wise comprehend that how things end is a major statement about character and comportment. It’s a marker of intimacy and maturity in faith. Scripture enigmatically puts it this way:
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ecclesiastes 7:8
That’s one to ponder! Here’s another radical thought. Actually, it’s not even possible to end something properly unless the Lord is in it. Jesus declares emphatically, not once, but four times “I am Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end” (Revelation 1:8, 11, 21:6, 22:13). He’s declaring His authority over the affairs of men, times and seasons, and the inevitable eschatology, yes. But this is also a declaration of His Lordship over the personal affairs of individual lives. On the great chess-board of life, He’s the key player.
Remember the awesome account of the Exodus? Three million-plus Jews exited Egypt after long residency and despite the fact they were slave labor in the land. When the Lord says it’s over, it’s over.
And it came to pass, at the end of four hundred and thirty years, Even the self-same day, it came to pass That all the host of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:41
Although they had been crying out to the Lord for several generations, when His answer finally came, it arrived with such speed and forcefulness all Egypt was crippled. Moses’ command to “Let my people go” was punctuated with the ruthlessness of multiple plagues, each increasing in power and ferocity until Pharaoh finally acceded. As they fled in the night, God’s people witnessed the final end-game of the Lord. When Pharaoh and his chariots chased them to the Red Sea with mortal arrogance, the power of Egypt and her gods was finally broken – a supremacy among the nations they never regained.
The lessons of Exodus are there for all to ponder. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that when you know things are moving to an inexorable finale, you’d better position yourself properly. Humility and obedience are required. Follow Spirit instructions to the Letter. There better be blood on your doorpost when the Death-Angel passes by. Being caught out on an exposed flank by stubborn foolishness, inflexible egotism or vain conceit will make you collateral damage on the day the towers fall. You’ll drowned with the chariots. There’s a place under the shadow of His wings to be quietly huddled, waiting for the dust to settle.
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: For the end of that man is peace. Proverbs 5:4
In Chess, Endgame is defined as the stage when most pawns, knights and bishops have been reduced, and the dance is closing between critical pieces. Kings and Queens remain only for checkmate. In our lives, this is the moment when the Lord deals with our most pernicious enemies, culminating long-standing battles for us. His endgame is always our growth in wisdom, grace, holiness and consecration. Though the play may puzzle, His infallible hand is upon the board, and major foes are about to be decimated. Flip to the end, and you’ll realize we win. Omega is at hand.
For I know the thought that I think toward you, says the Lord, Thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11
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