I remember as a child whenever I had a wave of night terrors I would have trouble imagining my room as the ordinary bright place it was in the daylight.… The hells specialize in making us feel things that aren’t true. I don’t have night terrors anymore but I’m discovering that, as adults, a lot of us deal with darker states–whether it be depression, anxiety, spiritual struggles or even mental challenges. Whatever the cause, when we are feeling far from the Lord and can only see all the things that we’ve done wrong this week, this month or since childhood it can be hard to truly believe that life will look and feel differently in the light of more truth. In moments like that I also have a hard time remembering that the less happy times are permitted along the journey and they are not stopping points themselves but something that will give way to brighter states afterwards.
Now, even while trying to find what to write about this time I wasn’t quite sure that I had anything helpful to share. And then suddenly the clouds lifted in a new way.
The Lord gave me two fresh realizations: 1) The Word has a continuous internal sense and one level of that sense is the story of regeneration of a human being. It is a very long and complex story and it has an awful lot of sad moments in it but 2) the Lord is infinitely patient and merciful and His Word has just as many new beginnings as there are stumbles. Now there are a lot of bad things in us that need to perish for a new beginning to be possible but I’m especially struck just now by how many morning sort of states the Lord is always trying to give us. After turning the pages of the Word and finding quote after quote about fresh starts after dark times I was able to suddenly recognize several things in my own life that I hadn’t quite realized were new beginnings themselves.
May you get as much reassurance from the following quotes as I have been given:
Arcana Coelestia 3854
“For every smallest fraction of a moment of a person’s life entails a chain of consequences extending into eternity. Indeed every one is like a new beginning to those that follow, and so every single moment of the life both of his understanding and of his will is a new beginning.”
I love this next quote after the contrast of the whole earth being covered in waters for weeks and weeks with no end in view:
“And it was, in the six hundred and first year, in the beginning, on the first of the month, that the waters were dried up from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and saw, and behold, the faces of the ground were dry. In the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried up. And God spoke to Noah, saying, Go out from the ark, thou and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons wives with thee. Every wild animal that is with thee of all flesh, as to fowl, and as to beast, and as to every creeping thing that creeps on the land, bring out with thee; and they will crawl forth into the land, and be fruitful, and multiply on the land.”
Psalm 30 “In the evening, weeping may pass the night, But in the morning there is singing aloud.”
Not only can we begin again but here the Lord is urging and even commanding us to:
“And thou, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus you say, saying, Our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we waste away in them, and how should we live? Say to them, As I am alive, says the Lord Jehovih, I have no delight in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn back from his way and live; turn ye back, turn ye back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?”
“And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a distant country, and there wasted his substance, living recklessly.…And when he came to himself he said, How many hirelings of my father have an excess of bread, but I perish with hunger! Standing up I go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hirelings. And he stood up and came to his father. And being yet a distance away, his father saw him and had compassion, and running, fell on his neck and kissed him.”
As it turns out the cycle of endings and beginnings, or of evenings and mornings is actually of order:
“That four Churches should have existed on this earth since the creation of the world is according to Divine order, which is, that there should be a beginning and an end to it before a new beginning arises. Hence every day begins with morning, advances, and ends in night, and after that begins afresh; every year also begins with spring, advances through summer to autumn, and ends in winter; and after that begins again. To produce these effects the sun rises in the east, proceeds through the southern heat of noonday to the west, and sinks in the cold of the north; after which he rises again. It is similar with Churches. The first of these, the Most Ancient, was as morning, spring and the east; the second or the Ancient Church, was as day, summer and the south; the third was as evening, autumn and the west; and the fourth was as night, winter and the north.…Moreover, the Church appears in the sight of the Lord as one man; and as the Grand Man it must pass through its ages like an individual, advancing from infancy to youth, from this to manhood, and at length to old age; and then, when he dies, he will rise again.”
And the New Church herself is of course a new beginning:
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and the sea is no more. And I, John, saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell in a tabernacle with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God Himself shall be with them, their God. And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor shall there be distress any more, for the first things have gone away.”
So in other words, we always have opportunities to begin again and this is from the Lord alone who is the source of every beginning:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
“And He who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”