He Always Finishes What He Starts

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.

“It is finished” cannot be said easily, even about our small projects, especially for us perfectionists whose performances never match our plans, leaving us endlessly tinkering or quietly unsatisfied.  But there is no divergence between God’s intentions and his results.  With him alone perfection is fulfilled.  The entire universe without a flaw has here blossomed into matchless beauty.  With that portfolio, it would seem ludicrous for us to distrust his plans for our lives personally.  The infinite wisdom of his plans, the limitless mastery of his work and the incorruptible goodness of his heart make him our ultimate trust.

So why are we so much more inclined to trust ourselves, to take control of our own lives, to make choices contrary to his direction… to do touch up work on a Michelangelo?   Why do we fear walking in the way laid out by him, and not rather fear our own misleading inclinations?  Because we humans have constructed an alternate world that accommodates our insecurities and false notions while punishing those who contradict these cultural mores.  To advance in the business world we must be self-promoting and prioritize work above core values, to gain friends we must put on the charm and hide our true selves, to garner influence we must shout and blackball since quiet wisdom is rarely heard.  The values that God promotes, humility, gentleness, honesty, putting others before ourselves, are not rewarded in this upside-down world.  The meek can only win in the end because they inherit the earth, which is to say it is gifted to them by God, not won in competition with this world’s values.

Following God’s way is often painful and seemingly counter-productive.  Instead of being upwardly mobile in this world, we are downwardly mobile—becoming everyone’s servants.  No wonder it takes real courage and fortitude to trust his lead.  But remarkably, God led the way in this as well, not only inviting us into the joy of his first creation, but joining us in the painful travail of his new creation.  He emptied himself of all advantage, power, and majesty, and became the servant of all, meaning that he became my servant and your servant.  He suffered this world’s indignities and lies and hatred until he had led the way to the end and completed for us what we could not do for ourselves.  He proved his love for us beyond all doubt with his ultimate self-sacrifice, saying for a second time, “It is finished.”

Lord, we would never have known the depth of your grace or longed to live in it without having fallen so far and been rescued by your unshakeable love.  Redemption is so much more wonderful that the original goodness with which you made this world.  How could we have known the depth of your love without this ultimate demonstration to prove its boundlessness?

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