Updated: Jun 8, 2020
by Dr. Dave Coryell; C.E. USA - Executive Director, World C.E. - General Secretary
Test my theory: before the end of today, ask a few people to stop and recall one critical moment where they were given a new beginning. This could be the opportunity to retake a test, re-submit a project at a job or in school, or having a person offer you forgiveness after you made a poor choice relationally. You will have difficulty finding anyone that cannot come up with at least a few of these new beginning moments. New beginnings can emerge from life circumstances as well. Conversations quickly turn to the hope of new beginnings today. People are eager to see what life will look like on the other side of COVID-19.
We learn about a new beginning in 1 Samuel 1-4. Israel had been led for forty years by a high priest named Eli. Eli was old, extremely overweight, lacked direction as a high priest, was a failure as a father and had lost favor with God. It was so bad that a prophet told Eli in 1 Samuel 2 that Eli’s entire family would only grow old to shed tears and that his sons would die. This life resume’ seemed to indicate that God was done with him. Suddenly, a boy is miraculously born and given to Eli to raise. This boy, named Samuel, lived with Eli and went on to become a Priest, Israel’s first Prophet, and the man who anointed Israel’s first King. Samuel’s life foreshadowed the coming life of Jesus Christ. He was an extremely important person in God’s plan. God chose Eli to be Samuel’s mentor and guide. Talk about a new beginning for Eli!
Why did God give a new beginning to Eli the elderly, overweight, lack-luster high priest and challenged father? God could have chosen anyone to train Samuel. From an objective standpoint, Eli seems like an extremely unlikely and poor choice to raise Samuel. Yet, 1 Samuel 3:1 tells us that, “The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli.” Why? Because God looks at people’s hearts in their moment of need and not at their life resume’.
God worked incredibly through Eli and He can do the same through you! The reason God gave Eli a new beginning is the same reason we can find hope in the midst of COVID-19. God may use any part of this current trial to give you a new beginning. It may already be happening, it may come soon, or it may occur after the world reopens. You may not even realize how God was working until you can look back upon this experience. Whether your new beginning comes today, tomorrow, or in the future, know that it will begin in your heart.
Since God will be examining our hearts, let’s take steps to check the status of our own hearts. Today, go to Galatians 5:22-23 and review the “fruit of the Spirit.” These verses list what a Christ-follower expects the Holy Spirit to produce through his or her life on a daily basis. How have you seen these items produced in your daily life? Have you noticed an increase or decrease in your “fruit production” during COVID-19? What steps can you take to allow the Holy Spirit’s power to bear more fruit through you today and in the future?