The Gate of New Beginnings

by Andy Wood on January 20, 2014

in Exploring the Possibilities, Five LV Laws, Hoarders, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Principle of Abundance, Time

 

gateofnewbeginings_lI found myself strangely moved.

The other day a pastor friend, who is walking through new beginnings of his own, sent me a copy of this Thomas Kinkade painting from 2005 titled “Gate of New Beginnings.”  I have always appreciated the work of “the Painter of Light,” but mostly at a distance. This one felt up close and personal.

Here’s what Kinkade himself said about it:

Any life worth living is a life enriched by frequent new beginnings…. Perhaps in your own life you’ve had cause to reflect on a season of new beginnings recently. For many, the past few years have brought change. Perhaps you have encountered in recent days a new love to savor, or a new career opportunity to embrace, or even a new life challenge to be faced. This is the inspiration behind my newest painting, Gate of New Beginnings. In this work, I have tried to create an ode to the ever buoyant human spirit and to the constantly curving pathway of life.

I was first drawn to the dogwood trees in this scene because they are such a common feature in the area where I grew up. In fact, had you told me that this was based on an old photograph from Mobile, Alabama or up near the family farm, I wouldn’t have argued.

The Invitation vs. The Predictable

What’s interesting about the scene in the painting is the tension between the warmth of the open gate and the uncertainty of the winding road.  The gate is welcoming. Friendly. Inviting.

But the obvious twist in the road leaves the future unpredictable. Uncertain.  Void of assurances or guarantees.

So you’re left with a choice.  Stay on this side of the open gate and live with the known and predictable (after all, it’s not exactly ugly on this side of the gate). Or, embrace the unknown and uncertain and pass through the Gate of New Beginnings.

Should you choose to move through the open door, only one quality will get you to your destination:  faith.  It’s faith in God and His kind intentions for you that propels you through the Gate of New Beginnings – even when you can’t predict all the outcomes or control every contingency.

Finding the Gateway in Seasons of Loss

Sometimes the Gateway of New Beginnings sort of lands on top of us – or we’re sent careening in the night up hard against it through losses.

You didn’t ask to lose your job.

You didn’t ask to lose your health.

You didn’t ask to lose that loved one.

You didn’t ask to lose favor with a fickle world.

But lose you did.  And hear me:  It’s OK to mourn your losses. Heck, it’s even expected (Matthew 5:4).

But there in the mourning, watch for the Gate of New Beginnings.  It may not appear as a scene from the springtime quite yet. But through the uncertainties and even the losses, you find the heart of a God who is faithful to bring new life and color out of the coldness and emptiness of loss.

In a scene from the trailer of the upcoming movie, “Noah,” Emma Watson, playing the ark builder’s daughter-in-law, says, “This is the end of everything.”

“The beginning,” Noah replies.

The same could be said for you.  What may appear to be the end of everything is just the strange passage through the Gate of New Beginnings.

But I Don’t Like Change!

I understand.  But look at the painting again. You’ve probably lived long enough to recognize that flowers blooming today eventually fade and fall off.  What you may not remember from biology class is that the fact that they’re blooming at all is the result of a savage struggle in nature.

Bottom line: Nobody’s asking you to love change. But you may as well get used to it – and used to the struggle through it.  The Gate of New Beginnings is simply the welcome mat to those with faith enough to move forward in today’s light – trusting God for just enough light for tomorrow path.

Pressing On

The Apostle Paul expressed this journey in different language:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV).

As inviting as the Gate of New Beginnings appears, sometimes moving forward through it requires some deliberate, even disciplined choices.  You have to let go of what lies behind, whether you like it or not. You have to press on – “straining forward” as it’s translated here. For Paul, the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” was worth it.  How about you?

Hauling Off the Old Barn

Last night I had one of those dreams that was so memorable, I got the idea that the Lord was trying to say something.  In the dream, a friend of mine and I were on the campus of a contemporary church. The dream started with him being told that a class he had proposed teaching would never succeed because it wasn’t relevant to contemporary young adults.

Then came the barn scene.

The church had three buildings on its campus. One was a fairly modern office/educational type building. The other was a very contemporary worship center with cutting-edge technology, including a recording studio.  The third building was an old, weather-greyed, unpainted barn, used as office and educational space.

Guess where I was, trying to do some writing?

Yep, the barn.

As I was trying to write from up in my hayloft “office,” I noticed that the barn was beginning to sway back and forth in the wind. Like a pendulum, it started small, but the more the wind blew, the more the creaking old building swayed.  I got out of there just in time; the whole thing came crashing down on top of itself.

In the dream, my old friend and I wound up headed in two different directions. I had found my way to the new worship center. He was asking a banker for a loan to rebuild the old barn.

I don’t know where you are in your life or work or ministry. But if you find yourself in front of the Gate of New Beginnings, embrace it.  With faith, walk through it.  Don’t let the winding path intimidate you – there’s just as much uncertainty in trying to preserve the “old barns,” however familiar they may be to you.

See, I have given you a door flung wide open, which no man can close! (Revelation 3:8, Phillips).

The Gate of New Beginnings is just another way of delighting yourself in the Lord, as He gives you the desires of your heart.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando January 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm

I choose to walk through the Gate of New Beginnings knowing the Lord is with me. Loved this reflection, the Kinkaide painting, and the “Noah” trailer, too. Can’t wait to see that movie!
Blessings, Andy!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..It’s Working!

Carrie January 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm

so very moved. Thanks for sharing.
Carrie´s last blog post ..Fab Salve Giveaway And Coupon!

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