My youngest says I tweet too much but hey, that’s what twitter is for right? And there are plenty of people who tweet more often than I do. So I told her, “If you don’t want to read all my tweets then just don’t follow me anymore” to which she replied, “Okay, I won’t”. Well, fine. I follow several pastors and other bloggers that offer food for thought, encouraging words, and more. I also follow people like Conan O’Brien and Jim Gaffigan, not quite as edifying but good for some laughs. It’s fun.
One of the tweeters I follow is called “ChatBible” from the UK. He tweeted today about new beginnings, which only seems fitting since it’s the start of the new year: Noah (Gen 9) Ruth (Ruth 1) Peter (Jn 21) and Paul (Acts 9). Which brings most hope…& why?
Noah: His drastic new beginning affected every living thing with God washing the whole planet clean and starting over, sparing only Noah and his family (and a bunch of animals).
Ruth: She was given a new relationship and provision for her life and that of her mother-in-law’s after they both experienced deep personal loss.
Peter: His denial of Jesus on the awful night of Jesus’ trial was forgiven and his role as disciple restored when Jesus appeared to Peter and the others on a beach.
Paul: He didn’t even realize he needed a new beginning until he was confronted undeniably by Christ and sent 180 degrees in the other direction.
I think we can relate to each of them at one point or another in our lives. It’s interesting to note, too, that their fresh starts were contingent upon their choices. Noah chose to obey God and build a gigantic boat in the middle of a desert, when it didn’t make sense. Ruth chose to stay faithful to her mother-in-law and follow Naomi’s God through hardship and poverty. Peter jumped out of the boat when He saw Jesus and swam to shore instead of running away out of shame. He was then given the opportunity to confess that He really did love Jesus. Three times Jesus asked Him, maybe redeeming the three times Peter had denied Him. Paul’s new beginning seems a little more unavoidable since he was struck blind, but he could have chosen to ignore Jesus’ instructions or at least to abandon the cause when it got tough. Instead he was vigilant to the end, never wavering once God set his feet right.
They all give me hope. God has confronted me when I’ve messed up or am doing something that offends Him. And like He promised, washes it all away when I repent and ask forgiveness. He’s restored me and my family after times of hardship, always providing for us over and above what we need. He forgives when we deny him with our selfishness and gives us new chances to jump back into the role of servant and disciple. He’s with us no matter how rough it gets and I’m trusting that He can use any and all of that to let other people know about Himself.
There are lots of other new beginnings in the Bible that come to mind: the woman caught in adultery who Jesus forgave and sent off in peace, Zaccheus who was despised for his dishonesty and greed who became a generous, joyful believer, the man who had been driven insane by a legion of demons was freed, clothed, given back a sound mind, dignity and life.
What’s your story of a new beginning? Or are you needing one right now? Which story gives you the most hope and why?
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43:18-19 The Msg