The night my mother passed away will always remind me of how God uses bookends in our lives, those events that mark a beginning and which ultimately signal finality. My mother passed away one October evening in a hospital in downtown Des Moines. I gave my wife a kiss as she headed home from the hospital and told her I’d follow a little behind her.
My mother had always been fond of going to nearby Gray’s Lake and walking her small dog. It seemed only fitting to go to the lake and take a moment to reflect on her passing. As I looked over Downtown Des Moines that crisp, clear October evening, I reflected on the sorrow of her death. I was missing her so much yet was reminded of the glory she was experiencing being united with Christ. While I was happy to know that my mom was in glory, I was undone in sadness as I grieved. I sat there, embracing the tension between these two realities.
As I sat on the bridge overlooking the lake, deep in thought, I was startled by a scream from the other end of the park. I looked across the bridge to see my daughter Meredith standing there in shock, and my (now) son-in-law Logan kneeling before her. He had just proposed. As I took in this joyful sight, I heard God say, “It’s all true.”
Genesis to Revelation, I was witnessing the bookends of creation. There was death, staring me in the face, when, seemingly out of nowhere, a beautiful new covenant had just begun. How good is God that He can combine my grief, my mom’s glory, and a new beginning for my daughter and son-in-law, and mash them all up into one beautiful, perfect moment. Here was proof of how God bookends our lives, embracing creation and redemption.
The magic of bookends isn’t in the bookend events themselves, but in the things they hold together. Did you know that the Bible is bookended? This story of the Bible starts with a marriage (Genesis 2:23–24) that was absolute perfection. God created us for His good purposes, and He longs to be with His creation. Sin then ripped us away from this union with God.
Between the bookends lies the Old Testament, which is filled with God’s longing to be united with His people. Then comes Christ as our propitiation (1 John 2:1–2), removing us from sin and setting us apart so we can be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18). So we see God’s beautiful story bookended by two marriages: the marriage between Adam and Eve, which resulted in tragedy; and the marriage between Christ and the church, which resulted in glory.
Have you seen the redemptive grace of God’s bookends in your life?