Beginning Like the End
Last week my wife, Becca, gave birth to our second child, which is still one of the craziest experiences to go through in this life. To see new life enter the world is incredible, and I’ve obviously been thinking about this a lot over the last month. Simultaneously, I’ve been preparing for my next sermon series at Harris Creek called “The New Exodus” where we will be studying Romans 8. As I’ve been meditating on that chapter of Scripture and thinking about the process of new birth, there are a few connections that have come to mind. I thought I would share some of the scattered thoughts and connections I’ve made over the last month with you:
- A Miracle –– When one of my friends held June, he told me this was the first time he had held a newborn baby. His exact words were, “I’ve never been this close to a miracle before.” The creation of new life is, in fact, a miracle, and it got me thinking that resurrection is probably very similar in some regards. Scientifically and logically, it is hard for some to imagine how our decomposed bodies could ever be made new in the resurrection. I tend to think if we didn’t see the miracle of birth happen around us so often, I think we would also consider procreation to be logically impossible. Without getting into specifics of the reproduction process, the fact that a human being is fully formed inside a womb from basically “nothing” is nothing short of a miracle. Maybe the “normal” process of children being born is a reminder that nothing is impossible with God.
- God’s Presence –– The entire time Becca was pregnant, our son, Camden, kept talking about baby sister being in “mommy’s tummy.” He would even lift Becca’s shirt and talk to his baby sister at times. At the same time, Camden knew full well that his sister was here but not “here” yet. While she was with us in the room, she wasn’t fully present until her birth. That was her true arrival. This became a helpful way for me to think about the presence of God. We know that God is, in fact, everywhere, so we don’t have to ask Him to come. In the same breath, we know that God is not fully present as He will one day be when the consummation of heaven and earth finally happens. So, it is completely appropriate to pray or sing “come, Lord Jesus” while knowing that God is always present. While God is here, one day He will fully arrive and make His dwelling place with humanity.
- Beginning Like the End –– Probably the most powerful image that hit me over the last few weeks has been in thinking about the end of life being similar to the beginning of life. In Romans 8:19, Paul says, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” He goes on to say in verse 22, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” As Paul anticipates the end of all things, he compares it to the beginning of life. What this tells me is that the end is a lot like the beginning. There is typically a lot of pain at the end of life, particularly for those of us who experience the loss of a loved one. There is also a lot of pain at the beginning of life, which you know if you’ve been in a delivery room (or watched “Call the Midwife”). But this pain is not fruitless at the beginning, nor is it fruitless at the end for those who are in Christ. This pain is not hopeless because we know it’s not the end. In a similar vein, another thought I had was that the beginning is also like the end in another way. As our daughter, June, showed up last Monday afternoon, she had a room full of people waiting for her that knew more about her than she knows about herself. We were there waiting to take care of her because she is entering a world that is big and wild and beautiful. I can’t help but think that our crossing over into the other side of eternity might be the same way. It makes me dream that there will be people who have gone before me, including Christ himself, that know me better than I know myself. And while the process of entering a new realm is certainly full of unknowns, I’m starting to think that there will be people who will be there to help us make that transition into a newer and redeemed and beautiful world, as well.
The thought I want to leave you with is this: take heart and don’t lose hope. I know that this world causes us to groan from the weight of pain we often experience. I also have recently watched my wife go through some of the worst pain imaginable in order to bring forth one of the greatest gifts God could ever give us in our daughter, June. Maybe that’s why Paul says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
 One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Ezekiel 37. The prophet Ezekiel is asked by God if he believes God can bring these “dry bones,” or people who are long gone, back to life. Ezekiel gives one of the best non-answers in the Bible in verse 3. The resounding answer from God is, “Yes, I am able!” All things are possible with God.
 See Revelation 21:2-3
 NIV, Emphasis Added
 Paul speaks to this hope we have in Romans 8:24.
 Romans 8:18