“Book ends.” That’s how Tom described Christ’s presence. Book ends on the story of my life.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…and behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Like those square brackets that support each side of Tim Keller throughout Gospel in Life,
Jesus defines my beginning and my end. Life began with Him! (“In the beginning was The Word…”) In the beginning He also had all authority – all authority to create me, all authority to breathe on me the breath of life, all authority to write the story of my life. To fill the empty pages of my book with story lines and drama, triumphs and trials, muck and mire. He’s the author of all of that too.
And He promises, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). And, “Behold, I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). The Author is always right.by.my.side. He stands smack in the middle of my plot line. With me. Waiting for me to ask, “What’s next?”
Isn’t that what I, a dreadful sinner and mess of a Momma, desire of my own children every day? “Please stop complaining and just ask respectfully for what you’d like,” I say. “Please just ask for help if you need it” I say. Even if it’s selfish. Even if it’s petty. Even if it’s unnecessary for the moment, I still give them space to ask.
So why is it so hard for me to ask my heavenly parent for help? He’s standing right here beside me, isn’t He? And all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him to write my story, right? Then why do I have such trouble trusting Him to turn the pages of my life? To pen the next chapter. To ask Him to read aloud The Story of Me – a classic in the making?
My pastor said something else too.
“If you run your church without the power of the Holy Spirit, without actually needing Jesus, without actually praying as if the life of your church depends upon your every whispered prayer, you’re not running a church. Your church is running you.”
My home is my church. No, I’m not advocating you skip Sunday Services and proclaim independence from the tyranny of the weekend alarm clock. I’m just sayin’ that if I run my home without the power of the Holy Spirit, without actually needing Jesus, without actually praying as if the life of my home, and the lives within my home, depend upon my every whispered prayer, then I’m not running my home. My home is running me.
I used to lament the fact that I so desperately needed help. But that verse in Matthew? The one that reminds us that Jesus has all authority to write my story and will walk with me through the pages of my classic novel? It also says:
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted.” (Matthew 28:16-17)
He knew some doubted. He knew some hesitated, mistrusted, or even disbelieved. But that’s not what mattered. What mattered is that they came. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me,” He says. “Come to Me. Ask your questions. I can handle it.”
If I run my home without Jesus, without actually running to Him and asking respectfully for what I’d like, without actually praying as if the life of my home and the lives within my home depend upon my every move towards Jesus, then I’m running my home. My home is running me.
The quicker I run to Jesus, the nearer His presence through every exposition, every rising action, every conflict, every denouement, every conclusion. The closer I stand to Jesus, the faster I’m swept up into His strong arms when I am weak, the clearer His voice breaks through the fog of doubt, the greater His glory highlights each line of my story.
Yes, I want the bookends. Jesus before and Jesus aft. And Jesus all in between.
Might I Pray for Us?
Dearest Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. Write on! Write my story. Help to only to read and not get in the way of your characters, your setting, your plot. May it be that every chapter is better than the one before the ending is only the beginning. May I trust You to turn the pages, pen the words, draw conclusions, and sign Your Name at the end of each chapter. You are the most perfect Author. Amen.