“In the beginning God……”  Genesis 1:1

” I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.”  Revelation 1:11

” I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

The beginning and the end, Genesis and Revelation, creation and destruction, birth and death, seemingly these are topics that are easy for us to see the Hand of God in.  It is very often that we think and speak in terms of the “miracle” of birth.  Also, because so often a person’s death will not come at a time that we would have not preferred we think and speak in terms of God “calling a loved one home”.

It is not only concerning the beginning and ending of our lives, how many of us have, in our prayer rituals, a time in the morning when we pray and perhaps a day ending prayer before we go to sleep.  Don’t misunderstand me, it is great to have regular times to commune with our Heavenly Father.  Yet what about the in between time?  To what extent do we see Our Heavenly Father’s Hand in the in between?  In what ways are we willing to purposefully understand the control Our Heavenly Father has in the in between?  I ask that last question especially with those words in mind.  I don’t ask: To what extent are we willing to give up or cede control to God.  For I believe God does not have to wait for us to give Him permission to be in control.  The reality is, when we try to take control, think that we are in control, no matter how inaccurate that concept might be with the disastrous results for us that thinking has, we have not in truth wrested control of anything from God.

That may be the largest part of the problem.  You and I know that we didn’t ordain or control our birth and will most likely not control the time and circumstance of our death.  Yet as time goes on we believe that we control the vast majority of life in between.  The world at least would tell us so.  The world would tell us there is some magic number of dollars that will make us happy (although from the world’s perspective that magic number will never be met).  The world tells us if we live in this certain place, with these material things surrounding us, if our bodies look a certain way and our mate’s bodies also look a certain way, if we have this degree or that accomplishment, if we pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and make something of ourself, then we will attain a truly happy and abundant life.  The world would tell us that the more we can claim we did it ourselves the happier we will be.  The world would tell us to rely on anyone, especially the All Powerful God, actually diminishes our accomplishment.

Jesus knew and knows better.  Think about Jesus ministry.  He didn’t just appear to bless babies when they were born and officiate at funerals when they died.  Jesus was all about improving the human condition in all phases of life.  He made sure that the little children could come to Him for blessings.  He blessed young people at their weddings.  He healed the sick, lame, diseased and spiritually ill of all ages and walks of life.  While He famously said that all who believe in Him will have the eternal life of the future, so much of what he preached about and blessed were the lives of the individual day; the here and now.  He didn’t leave people hurting saying, your reward is in the future.  He didn’t pass by feeding the thousands telling them how there will always be food when they get to heaven.  He came to provide life, today, and to do so abundantly.

How do I and you live into that abundant life?  It requires a restructuring of how we think and feel.  Among other things I do, I am a corporate facilitator.  I will often get to a classroom or training site early and say a prayer asking for blessing for the attending group.  At the end of the session, as much as I can, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for Our Heavenly Father’s help.  What I struggle with is seeing God in the moments in between.  In the heat of the moment when a powerful discussion is going on, an audiovisual machine might be acting up, a test is about to be given; that is when I tend to tune God out and think in terms of myself and my world only.  To understand that, in the moment, God has control over all.  He does cloth the lilies daily and give each bird its shelter and food daily.  The task is to grow in relationship to God in all times knowing that God is a God of in between also.  It requires prayer which is why Paul exhorts us to pray without ceasing.  It requires connecting to the Holy Spirit who can overpower the message of the world and keep us focused on God.

Dear sisters and brothers, The Alpha and Omega is not the beginning and the end.  In truth it is He is the Alpha through the Omega.  God is.  God is at all places.  God is at all times.  Beginning, now, end, God is there.  He is there not just as a bystander, a commentator, a disinterested third party, or critic, God is our Creator.  His love for us is for now and forever.  He sent His Son to be our salvation, not their salvation in the past, not some salvation to come in the future.  We are saved.  Then, let us live abundantly; abundant life, abundant love, abundant mercy, abundant faith, knowing that our God is the God of  all things including the in between.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we proclaim to all that You are the Alpha and the Omega.  You were at the beginning and will be at the end.  Yet we also proclaim that You are the God of our now.  Forgive us Merciful Father when we forget to rely on You and rather trust in ourselves.  Reveal to us Your presence in our lives at all times.  That through that revelation we will find ourselves living abundant lives of praise and thanksgiving in You.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen