Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Moves In A Mysterious Way"1 (Lyrics)
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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Thanks, Gail, for the words of encouragement.
Thank you for your lovely devotional.
Thank you for reminding me to be grateful… for the firsts, the middles and the lasts. His grace is everywhere… always.
Yes, Gail, for some people those much-celebrated firsts eventually morph into much dreaded lasts, but for those who know Christ Jesus they are awaited with eager expectation. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.
Thank you for the great reminder of the first that is still to come to all who believe in Jesus. A good look at our life and what is to come. May many blessings come your way.
These blessed truths cannot be repeated too often! What an encouragement to keep on growing, loving and learning in faith today, Gail. Grateful beyond words for your sharing God’s inspiration today in this great devotional.
Good Wednesday afternoon, Gail,
I was thinking about your next Devotional and when it would arrive… and today was the day.
A truth that I have hung onto for several years now is: “Our FIRST breath in heaven will come right after our LAST breath on earth.” No interval.
Gail, what a lovely devotional on the highs and lows of first experiences. I enjoyed reading that final “first” experience that you are anticipating is seeing Jesus in Heaven. It reminded me of a song from Mercy Me titled “I can only imagine”. A film was made based on it last year.
Thanks Gail, a friend reminded me of “first” coming up, we are both recently widowed. She told me it’s going to be my first Christmas without my husband. My first birthday alone, his first birthday without him, first thanksgiving etc. all alone, without him. First have never meant much to me. Now, as I move on to my second birthday without him, it feels like a first all over again. It is all just painful.
Thank you for your lesson about “firsts” and “lasts.” I remember the firsts in a vivid way, and I’m beginning to see the joy in lasts. Continue to bless us with your writing.