Ancient Greek mythology told the story of the pillars of Hercules, giant columns marked with the saying, “non plus ultra,” meaning “Nothing more beyond. Over time, it was thought the Rock of Gibraltar was the northern pillar, and nothing lay beyond except sunken Atlantis. The saying made its way from ancient Greek myth to Medieval thought. Sailors and navigators knew not to go any farther than Gibraltar: nothing else was out there.
Christopher Columbus thought there was something more out there. He sailed past Gibraltar and the Canary Islands. Five weeks later, he discovered a New world.
Shortly after Columbus’ voyages to the New World, Charles the Fifth ascended the throne of Spain. Aware of the old legend and the new discoveries, he adopted a personal motto that became the national motto of Spain: “plus ultra,” meaning “more beyond.”
We tell ourselves our stories and we are convinced there is nothing beyond. We accept that the mistakes of the past define us. Our consciences haunt us with guilt. We believe change is impossible. We stop exploring, hoping, and dreaming.
This is why people believe life on this earth is all there is. This is why people with addictions believe they cannot change. This is why people hold on to secrets they believe would destroy them if the truth ever got out.
On the Sunday after Jesus was crucified, He came out of the tomb. Death was defeated; despair was driven away; and darkness gave way to sparkling light. Jesus’ resurrection triumphantly proclaims “plus ultra!,” there is more beyond this life, beyond your story.
Resurrection tell us that the chapters written in our stories are not the end. Our failures do not have the final word. The final word belongs to God, if we will but give Him the pen.
Give God the pen. Let Him write a new chapter for you, where sin is forgiven, values are changed, secrets are told and their power is destroyed. Let God write for you a new chapter of purpose. Let God use your story to change someone else’s life forever.
There is more beyond whatever is written in your story. Let Jesus write it!