There’s something special about a ‘first’: first day on a new job, first Sunday in a new church, first morning waking up in a new house. Everything is possible, everything is waiting for us to begin. I used to love the first day of school. I couldn’t wait to sharpen my new pencils and put the new packet of notebook paper into my new folder. I loved sitting in my new classroom, imagining all sorts of possibilities. My first day of my first class at college is etched vividly in my mind; I couldn’t wait for the professor to begin her lecture so that I could begin filling in that new notebook with information. I love teaching school, in part, because of the series of ‘firsts’ it affords. Each grading period offers the possibility of another beginning, a new opportunity to improve a grade, a new unit of study, a fresh start.
I guess everyone needs the chance to put past mistakes behind them, as well. Unintentioned hurts, embarrassing moments, awkward conversations, can be forgiven and forgotten because of those new beginnings. The aches and trials of the past can be forgotten as a ‘first’ is anticipated. It’s like a burst of summer breeze to break up the shimmer of a sweltering afternoon; nothing refreshes the spirit and brings a smile more than that unexpected, fragrance-laden zephyr.
God gives his children a new beginning with each new morning. The Word tells us that ‘. . . joy comes in the morning.’ Paul also tells us in Philippians that ‘forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’ His mercies are new every morning. We can ask for His forgiveness of our past sins and know that there is no condemnation awaiting us. We can be free from the humiliation of past mistakes; God has forgiven and forgotten them. We can stop blaming ourselves because things didn’t turn out the way we were told they should; in Jesus there is no shame. That voice that whispers in our spirits that we can never be good enough, never be righteous enough, never atone for what we’ve screwed up in our pasts, can be forever silenced. That’s not the voice of God; He gives us His new beginning each time we ask.
It’s summer break once again, and I’ve got plans for a great many ‘firsts’ over the next ten weeks. Reagan’s response has been something like, “Gee, goodie,” every time she hears me bring up the list. I’m looking forward to an entire summer of ‘firsts’ in my walk with the Lord, too; I can’t wait to get started. Do you need a new beginning with God? It’s not too late to start again. He’s waiting for you to call His name. I feel a breeze stirring. . .