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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Trusting the Real God to Complete the Work in the Real You

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

When I was sixteen, I volunteered at a retirement home, two nights a week and on Saturdays. My responsibilities were fairly basic. I changed bed linens, cleaned bathrooms, and made tea. I loved it and became very fond of several of the residents. I found it sad that some of them never had a visitor, so I signed my mum and my sister up as visitors! One night a nurse had given me a bowl of soup to take to a resident who’d been asleep during dinner. As I left the nurses station I realized that she hadn’t given me a spoon, so I headed back to the kitchen to get one. As I passed the nurses station I overheard this comment: “I don’t know what we’re going to do next week. Two of the nurses are sick and one’s on vacation. Who’s going to run this place?”

I didn’t think much about that as I had to get “Fred” a spoon so I popped into the kitchen and picked one up. As I passed their station on the way back, I heard, “Don’t worry, Sheila’s got it. She can do this by herself now.”

I totally panicked. I gave “Fred” his soup and headed back to their office. I knocked tentatively on the door and when I was invited to come in I blurted out, “I’m so sorry. I love volunteering here, I really do. But I can’t do it all by myself. I’m only sixteen!”

With that, I burst into tears. Well, as you can imagine I’d overheard parts of two conversations. I’d actually been entrusted with giving “Fred” his soup not the running of the entire home. It was quite a relief.

Sometimes we live as if the whole responsibility of living this Christian life is all up to us and it’s overwhelming. We see what’s broken and where we fall short and think we’ll never make it all the way home. When Paul wrote to the Church in Philippi he reminded them, and us, that it was God who began the work. Not only that, he reminded them that God will continue it until the day when we are finally home with Christ. It’s helpful to note that when Paul wrote this letter, he was a prisoner living under the shadow of possible execution. He’s not writing it from a lounge chair at the edge of the ocean, he’s in shackles and yet the message remains: God’s got this. The word that Paul uses for “certain” is the Greek word, peitho the strongest word he could have used to describe his absolute conviction about what he was about to share. All of scripture makes one thing clear: whatever God begins He already has the end in sight. If you’re like me, you’ve started projects you never finished, but God never has. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. We are safe in his care. When Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd, He made it clear that no one takes us away from Him.

Excerpt from Its' Okay Not to Be Okay by Sheila Walsh, Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Copyright 10/2/2018. Used by permission.

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