As we explore the books on our life shelf we may discover that we are living in more than one book at a time. Parents with multiple children find themselves at a different place with each child. One may be evolving in the book of adolescence while another is enjoying the playful book of childhood, and yet another may be struggling through the young adult years.
Regardless of the book we are currently in, eventually we will come to the final chapter. The final chapter of high school days is filled with emotion, excitement, and anxiety. The final chapter of the young adult years can be thrilling, full of surprise, and perhaps disillusionment. The final chapter of any phase may include a sense of loss, a feeling of remorse, or the contentment of knowing that you have lived in such a way that the book can be closed with as little regret as possible.
For some, the final chapter is a chapter of joy. For some, it is a chapter of hope. Some books end with tragic sorrow and disappointment. Others may include a mixture of all of these ... and more. Like with any good book, we do not know how it ends until we get to the final chapter.
Two things are certain. First, a final chapter will be written. Children grow up and leave home. The carefree years of college come to an end. For those who choose to marry, the final chapter may reveal hearts, souls, bodies, and spirits that are blended into one. Some books end according to plan, some end by catching us totally by surprise. "We never saw that coming." Some end with great fanfare. Some end almost unnoticed. But all end.
Second, as one ends another begins. There's always another book.
So we ask: how will the final chapter read?
Perhaps Paul's description of his final earthly chapter can be a model for us to follow:
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV).
As each final chapter of the many books of my life is written I want to be able to say like Paul:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
The final chapter is yours to write.