The News (New Glasgow)

Taking a look beyond our finish line

- MIKE SHINDRUK @SaltWireNe­twork Mike Shindruk Master’s Hand Ministry

By the time you sit to read this message, I will have been retired for one week. After 50 years of working in retail sales, my finish line was crossed last Thursday.

At the ripe young age of 16 in 1973, I began working like most other teens at the time. There was no long-term goal, just the prospect of earning my own money to buy a car and date a girl.

I would have never guessed that my first job would be my last job. The money was never enough to dream big, but looking back, it was what I now know, almost enough to provide what I would need. I may have changed employers five times over my 50-year history, but the fundamenta­l tasks were pretty much the same.

Looking back, I do have a few regrets, but I sit today realizing that my life has been blessed beyond those regrets. The circle of close friends I have may not have been, had I not been where I was at any given moment. The faith family I cherish may not have come into my life if not for the timely changes that occurred for me.

The communicat­ion and labor skills I possess today may not have turned out how they have. My regrets are overshadow­ed by the blessing God poured onto me.

My employment finish-line was always there, yet invisible to me until God began to reveal it, one event at a time. Over the last eight years, these included three shots at knee replacemen­ts, my wife's victory over breast cancer, and the loss of a very special brother-in-law.

His passing was the wakeup call for me to plan my exit from work, to be home with my family. That one life-stopping event was the moment I realized that I should never take any day for granted. Actually, it reminded me to enjoy and savor every single day. All of these set me to determine my retirement day. So now, for me, a hobby has become a small business where my goals and opportunit­ies are ahead of me.

The road will have many curves so each day will be an exploratio­n of life beyond my finish line.

My story has been written and planned by God. I acknowledg­e that now. Yours is also being written so pay attention. As we all go through this event of life, we are all assigned a blank book. The thickness of that book depends on how long we live. The storyline and content of the writings depend on the life you live and share. There was a time when God was not a part of my life, let alone knowing Him the way I do now. I came to accept Him 20 years ago and every day I am amazed at how He makes Himself known to me.

The thousands of little blessings, or signs He gives, were never on my radar when I was younger. I can only imagine the millions of times He was there for me, and I never even knew. Yet, He cared enough for me to provide me with long and winding roads. Now that I know Him, the scripture Jeremiah 29:11 is now my mantra, and I share that a lot.

Looking back, I acknowledg­e that His provision in my life far outweighs any wants or goals from my youth, and I am content with that. Everything I have, value, love and know are all because He loved me enough that He sent His son, Jesus to die for me. When I think of that fact I am humbled beyond all understand­ing. Spoiler alert folks, He has done the very same for you as you read this, and for those who have yet to accept Him.

That is agape love right there in a nutshell. As for me, He has gifted me with yet another birthday recently. He keeps my body as healthy as I can expect for a 67-year-old. He has blessed my finances to provide me with enough. He keeps my wife by my side in our advancing years and blesses our family to remain tight-knit.

Are there some things being worked on that are not perfect yet? Yes, and I will continue to pray that He works those things out.

Our lives here are all on the road to our own finish lines, yet His promise to us in John 3:16 reassures me daily that when He is done with you and me here, there will be life beyond our finish line. What kind, you may ask? Eternal, and we'll not be alone.

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