Have you ever thought about how many "firsts" that we all experience in a lifetime? Some of those firsts we don't remember at all: our first breath, first step, first birthday, first tooth … . But the years tumble along, and we begin to remember significant events: our first day of school, first crush (and first heartbreak!), first home run, first time away from home. We become young adults and get our first college roommate, first car, first job, first apartment, first child, first promotion. Many of these lifetime firsts are causes for celebration and are marked as such.
Life goes on with many firsts continuing to come, and these events then quickly pass by in our rearview mirror. Now the firsts begin to take on a different flavour. Many are still cause for celebration. Some of the firsts are simply milestones in a life that is marked by the maturity and stability of the middle years of life. Retirement eventually looms ahead and is marked on the calendar and eagerly anticipated. That first grandchild brings joy beyond description.
But sooner or later, the firsts that come are no longer such happy, celebratory occasions. Physical changes begin to pile up as part of the aging process, and the first unexpected twinge here and ache there are only signs of worse things to come. At this end of life's spectrum, the "lasts" also begin to creep in: the last day of work, the last major project, the final concert — but that's another subject!
I've experienced many firsts in my spiritual life as well. Most significant was the first time that I fully understood what Jesus' death on the cross meant to me, a seven-year-old girl. Many other spiritual firsts then came as I continued to mature in my Christian life: a deeper understanding of forgiveness, the meaning of the fellowship of believers, experiencing God's grace and mercy, as well as His enabling power in times of distress, and so on.
Nonetheless, after a lifetime of firsts, there are still some to come that will be preparation for the best one of all. The "first" that I am eagerly anticipating more than any of the others will be my first glimpse of Jesus' face when I enter heaven's gates.
1 John 3:2 – Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (NIV 2011)
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, how we look forward to the day when we will enter Your heavenly kingdom — a kingdom that will have no end. Until that day, give us the strength and grace that we will need to live a faithful life of love and service to You. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "God Moves In A Mysterious Way" (Lyrics)