“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.” — Eccl 7:8
Thus says the wise man, and it is often true in natural things, but invariably so in divine. Rarely at first can we foresee what will be the outcome of any matter which we take in hand. We may begin it with much hope, and find in the end those hopes sadly disappointed. We may begin it with much fear, and find from the event those fears utterly groundless. Whatever we take in hand it is very rare that our expectations are fully carried out, for we have again and again to learn that “man’s heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps,” and that there are many devices in a man’s heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that and that only, shall stand.
But so far as we are among the family of God, and as such are under especial guidance and divine teaching and leading, whether our first expectations are accomplished or not, the end stamps wisdom and goodness upon all the dealings of God with us both in providence and in grace. However chequered his path has been; however, as Job speaks, his purposes have been broken off, even the thoughts of his heart; however when he looked for good, then evil came unto him, and when he waited for light there came darkness; whatever bitter things God seemed to write against him when he made him to possess the sins of his youth, yet sooner or later every child of God will be able to say, “O how great is your goodness which you have laid up for those who fear you!” and this will embolden him to add, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, as they have already followed me, all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”