GOD IS ALL ABOUT NEW BEGINNINGS
I flunked out of college. I spent more time socializing than I did studying. Needless to say, my GPA took a hard hit after three semesters (1.96...yikes), and I was summarily — and deservedly — dismissed from Indiana University. I was thoroughly devastated and humiliated; I thought it was the end for me at the tender age of 19. What was I supposed to do now? Where was I to go next? These, and many other thoughts, plagued me for months. But then I was given another chance. A private, liberal arts college accepted me into their journalism program, although I was put on academic probation. In the four years that I was there, I met, and even exceeded, my academic goals, graduating with a 3.65 GPA and a degree. But more importantly, it was while I was at Franklin College that I met God — or rather, God met me — in all my brokenness. And He did something extraordinary. He gave me a new beginning, spiritually-speaking, by saving me from my sins and redeeming my soul for all eternity. If I hadn't flunked out of college, who knows where I would've ended up. How I would've ended up! To this day, I'm ever-so grateful that I did flunk out. It's a story I never tire of telling...only because it's indicative of God's love for taking what is bruised and broken and making something new out of it. It's not only something I've experienced personally, but have seen demonstrated numerous times in the pages of Scripture. If there's one thing I've learned from personal experience and now over 25 years of studying the Bible, it is this:
GOD IS ALL ABOUT NEW BEGINNINGS
In fact, beginning anew is the overarching theme of God's entire love story — from Genesis to Revelation — and a recurring micro-theme that runs throughout. The overall "New Beginnings" theme of the Bible is God's plan for redeeming all of mankind after it was plunged into sin after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. From that point on, mankind was spiritually separated from God and destined for eternal damnation.
But then God did something new: He made a way for everyone to be saved in the form of a promise, the promise of a coming redeemer called the Messiah, who would save all repentant people from their sins.
Then there are the micro-themed "New Beginnings" stories sprinkled throughout Scripture:
� After Cain killed Abel, the son through whom the line of Christ would've come, God began anew with the birth of Seth;
� After destroying the earth and all its inhabitants by flood, God began civilization anew with Noah and his family by safely securing them in a boat;
� After impulsive Peter denied Jesus three times prior to His crucifixion, Jesus began anew by giving Peter the chance to redeem himself, questioning his love (three times) and then commissioning him with feeding the flock;
� After Paul relentlessly persecuted the fledgling Church — the Way — and imprisoning and executing new believers, God began anew by confronting him on the road to Damascus and turning the wayward marauder into a wholehearted missionary for the Gospel.
Convinced yet that new beginnings are God's specialty?
I could recount story after story of other lives as well, lives not recorded in Scripture but in the annuls of Christian history: Augustine, Constantine, William Tyndale, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis, Joni Eareckson-Tada, Franklin Graham, Lisa Whelchel (actress, Facts of Life), Bono (singer, U2), Tony Dungy, and many, many more.
Does any of this resonate with you right now? Are you looking for a new beginning in some area of your life?
In your career
Think of Levi. He was a notorious tax-collector who extorted money from his fellow Jews, but after God redeemed his life, Levi began a new career (under a new name), as an apostle and author, writing one of the most beloved books of the Bible, the Gospel of Matthew.
In your perspective
Think of Isaiah. This anxious prophet wanted to dwell on the "former things...the past" (43:18), but God encouraged him to change his perspective and focus instead on the new thing that God was doing in his own life and the life of His people. Let go of the old, embrace the new. The old ensnares, the new enables.
In your purpose
Think of Nehemiah. As the official cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in Persia, Nehemiah became burdened by the reports of the broken wall in Jerusalem. He prayed for God to open the way for him to go and repair it, and thus protect the people there. When the king saw Nehemiah's downcast countenance, he graciously granted him the time off — and the supplies! — to go and rebuild the wall. The job was completed in an unprecedented 52 days!
In your spiritual state
Think of the Samaritan woman. She experienced a string of five failed marriages and was living with a sixth when she encountered Jesus at the well. Rejected by the townspeople, she experienced a new beginning by accepting the Life-giving "water" (salvation) Jesus offered. And then, not being able to keep it to herself, she brought others to Jesus, many who also believed.
In your personal life
Think of Jeremiah. He suffered personal affliction from insults and weariness from constant weeping and wandering around alone, yet God reminded him that "the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is [My] faithfulness" (Jeremiah 3:22-23).
In fact, every single day offers us a new beginning, a fresh start from the failings and flaws of the day before.
Every day is chance to begin anew. For His glory and our good.
Be encouraged. Be blessed.