On Good Friday we remember that at the cross Jesus wipes away our sins, becoming a global magnet that draws the whole world to Himself. Good Friday also reminds me that embracing endings (deaths) and new beginnings (resurrections) is the pattern of life for every Christian.
Nothing new takes place without an ending. A real ending—a final death—often feels like disintegration, falling apart, a coming undone. It feels that way because that is what death is. It is an ending that requires walking through a completely dark tunnel, not knowing when or if any light will come again.
If we embrace these losses for the severe mercies they are, God does a profound work in us and through us in ways that are similar to what the apostle Paul describes as “death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Cor. 4:12).
As a person who tends to resist accepting the necessity of endings, I consistently do four things to keep me on track:
- I face the brutal facts of situations where things are going badly and ask hard questions, even when everything inside me prefers to distract myself or flee.
- I remind myself not to follow my feelings during these times of embracing endings as a death.
- I talk with seasoned mentors who are older and more experienced, asking for their perspective and wisdom.
- I ask myself two questions: What is it time to let go of in my personal life and in my leadership? What new thing might be standing backstage waiting to make its entrance in my personal life and in my leadership?
This second question especially encourages me to move beyond my fears, reminding me that God has something good for me in the future—even though I may not see any hints of what that might be.
Parker Palmer sums it up well: “On the spiritual journey…each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up. All we need to do is to stop pounding on the door just closed, turn around—which puts the door behind us—and welcome the largeness of life that now lies open to our souls.”