To Be Continued…


Dear Reader:

I had some kind of epiphany yesterday watching Rutledge and Lachlan stand by their Japanese Maples. I decided each year at the same time I am going to take a photo of each child by their tree and observe the difference in both their sizes and their tree sizes.


They will both “continue” to grow and their own story will continue to have a new beginning, middle, and ending each year.

Lately many of the popular television series have had their grand finale episode for the season. And many have closed as cliff-hangers leaving us to our own devices to come up with an ending.

For most of the shows…it is only a temporary ending…the show will resume in the fall with a new beginning, middle, and ending.

Rutledge has been given the job “Fountain Water Boy.” He is so excited that he will get to fill up the milk carton jugs and pour in the fountain on a “continuous” basis. This must be done every day unless (like we are experiencing now) it rains. Then Mother Nature takes over the job.

Don’t we all get discouraged when it seems like we wait and wait for prayers to be answered concerning prayers for loved ones….is God even listening we question in the wee hours of early morning.

But think about this…my epiphany. What if  the answer we get back from God is “To be continued.” In other words we are still in the middle of the story…not the end…so God has not interacted yet…only He knows the ending and the outcome.

I found this wonderful article titled: “When you’re waiting for God to show up.”  (Relevant Magazine) This quote particularly hit home with me:

“We’re only in the middle of the story—and God isn’t just going to show up and make things right in the end, we’ll realize He’s been there through it all.

Using the Lazarus Story as the point maker…..think about this familiar story again. (Relevant Magazine-“When You’re Waiting for God to Show Up.”)

…This ‘middle of the story’ idea makes me think of Mary and Lazarus. Many of us are familiar with the story—Mary and her sister Martha have a brother named Lazarus whom Jesus raises from the dead. But have you thought about what Mary and her sister go through from the time Lazarus gets sick to the time Jesus resurrects him?

Mary and Martha know Jesus loves them and their brother Lazarus. They know He’d be there in time of need. So when Lazarus gets deathly ill, Mary tells one of His disciples to relay the message. She and her family then wait in expectancy for his arrival.

They wait. And they wait. Three long, drawn out, painfully quiet days, as Lazarus just gets sicker.

And then, no longer able to hold on, Lazarus breathes his last breath.

What were Mary and Martha thinking at this time? If they were like most of us, I would imagine it was something like, “I thought Jesus loved us. I thought we were special to Him. Why didn’t He come?” Perhaps they felt angry, and a sense of abandonment or betrayal.

When Jesus does show up, Mary tells him, “If you had been here earlier, Lazarus would have lived.” Everyone is grieving what they see to be a tragic end to the story. Even Jesus weeps when He sees their pain and loss.

But what if Mary, Martha and their friends knew that this was not the end of the story? What if they knew there was good to still come?

Out of seemingly nowhere, in a sudden turn of events, Jesus acts. He stands up, walks over to Lazarus and calls him back from the dead.

Yes, Jesus loved this family dearly all along—just as they believed He did. In fact, it was His love for them that caused Him to wait to show up. He could have arrived and healed Lazarus when they expected, but instead, He waited for a special moment; for a tremendous finale kind of moment. He chose a way that would display the greatness of His love and the magnitude of His power. He took the opportunity to say to them, “Yes, I love you. And I will show you how much.”

It is our faith that will never fail that evolves out of these painful experiences. One ending to us is just the middle to God. Life, afterlife continues and as we watch it unfold….sometimes we have to wait….”To be continued” in God’s time.

So until tomorrow….Help us realize God that being in the middle of something with no end in sight….simply means we don’t have the vision to see far enough around the bend to the possibility of the joy that awaits God’s children.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Yesterday, Tommy, Kaitlyn, Mollie, and all of my five grand”sons” came to see me and play…I love half and half sunny/ rainy day play dates.

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About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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