There are many things that come to an end during our life on this whirling planet.
Babies wearing diapers. Many a mother thinks that day will never ever, ever, ever come, but it does (unless something horrific intervenes).
The end of the work day. Again, there are times that even that seems to be far off in the distant future if the assignment you are working on is difficult or unbelievably boring. But even that day does, in fact end, at the appropriate time.
One thing that occurs like clockwork (please pardon the pun) is the ending of the day.
Heading west on I-40, we can see the sun setting behind the mountains with the beautiful colors lighting up the evening sky. This was the sunset one evening when we visited the family in Virginia.
There are times that God’s creation is simply too beautiful to describe. Pictures certainly do not do justice to the glory that shines out from God’s world.
We know that God created the sun and the moon – it says so in Genesis:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. … And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night–and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.”
Genesis 1:1, 14-19
The Psalmist says it this way:
“Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.”
In our world of technology and scientific data, we have analyzed, digitized, and categorized the sun, the clouds, the atmosphere, the solar flares, and all kinds of things that I don’t even know. We have studied and drawn, recorded and photographed the sun in our effort to understand it, and we have gone a long way from our forebears who pointed and said “bright!”
But in my little corner of the world, at sunset, I look in the sky and see the hand of my Father, painting a particularly beautiful picture for me to see as I head into the evening hours of the day.
Many are so much more scientific and analytical than I am. They can explain so much about things of nature and of our world. It is my prayer that we all would stop and look at what God has given us, cherish the view, lock the mental picture into our minds, and then thank Him for His unfathomable love and mercy.
When the day is over and the sun is running its course to the other side of the world, they are awaking to the warmth of its rays. “Good evening” to you is “Good morning” to someone else!
The end, thus, is really also a beginning!
I doubt that the little caterpillar in this picture ever would think that he would be transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
The truth of the matter is, however, that the caterpillar must get into his cocoon and shed the body that had restricted him so that the transformation can take place. Rather than crawling along in the dirt, the butterfly can soar incredible distances, looking down on the land that he used to call home. The caterpillar’s end was also its beginning.
For us, when we are relieved of our mortal shell, our physical body, we will be transformed into our eternal bodies, glorious and without blemish.
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.””
1 Corinthians 15:51-54
Billy Graham said this in the years prior to his death:
Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. don’t you believe a word of it. i shall be more alive than i am now. i will just have changed my address. i will have gone into the presence of God.
The end is not really the end … rather, what we think of as the end is actually just the beginning.
Father, I thank You for giving us the example of nature in Your marvelous creation. The setting of the sun where I live is the end of the day, but it is the beginning of a new day elsewhere on this whirling globe. The “death” of the caterpillar is just the transforming work so that it can be a butterfly. Our physical death is simply the shedding off of our mortal bodies into the eternal body that You have prepared for us. Thank You for Your steadfast love and for calling Your children to come to You from every corner of the earth.