Finish Well

Philippians 1:6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

This verse is one of a longer salutation that Paul gives to the church at Philippi. This letter is one of the more personal, and pointed messages of all his epistles. There was a shared burden and fellowship that the apostle Paul felt with this church above the others.

Philippians 1:3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,”

I wonder if those who know us could say the same.

Philippians 1:4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,”

The shared spirit and fellowship of this church were one that brought joy to Paul’s mind when he would bow to pray for them.

When you and I understand the bigger picture of this thing we call the Christian Life, we see our difficulties as stumbling blocks, valleys as temporary, and mountains as just another way to the same goal.

The trials that come into our life are to be expected. The sudden events are taken in stride because we have the confidence that it wasn’t a surprise to our God, and He will see us through.

But, as it often happens, our sight becomes limited by the immensity of the trial, the difficulty of the task, or the personal investment we have in the ones affected by the trial. Matters of life and death put us in the front row seat of seeing God’s sovereignty at work.

We long to control the situation, circumstances, or outcome, but find ourselves to be wholly inadequate. We see suffering, pain, anguish, and languishing that we wish we could remove; but, God has allowed this event to take place at just the right time, to just the right person, and for reasons, we may not be privy to till we reach Heaven.

I have lived long enough to see close friends and people dear to me fall to cancer. God gave me this thought as a dear pastor friend watched his wife of many years succumb to brain cancer.

The situation of stage 4 brain cancer with parts inoperable because of its placement, made all hope to be taken away with the news literally: “I’m sorry, but that’s all we can do.” Some fell to despair and saw it as God’s inactivity; His uncaring, unloving, distant way of just showing He was not as interested in her as we all seemed to be.

It looked to us that she had much more life to live; many more lives to affect; a husband to love, kids to encourage, grandkids to enjoy, and wisdom to impart. But this thought bubbled up as the call to prayer went around the world:

When we are presented with situations impossible to man, it is time to pray to the God of the impossible to make the impossible possible.

The faith and fervor of the prayers raised on behalf of Katrina Bish were brought to the throne of grace and laid at the feet of our loving, Heavenly Father for Him to do with as He saw fit. Our collective humanity cried out, “Why”?

Yet, she continued toward what seemed an inevitable departure sooner than we all wanted to accept. Faith, hope, and love were tested and tried during this time and in our own strength, we seemed to be losing our grip and ability to keep her with us.

Her funeral was attended by family, friends, church members, and those she had won to Christ in her lifetime. Stories were shared, and many times, laughter rang out when some shared a funny situation or a particular way she dealt with a person.

When people in our lives are taken from us suddenly, we are devastated.

Steve Curington was used of God to create a program to reach a people that the church struggled to understand, let alone reach out and help. As a former addict, he knew what strongholds and deceptions the enemy held over a saved, child of God who fell to an addiction.

God revealed to him that the cure to any and all satanic strongholds is the close, personal walk of the child of God and gaining the weapons and armor needed to not only engage in the battle but get the victory. Reformer Unanimous, now RU Recovery lives on though Steve was taken from us suddenly in October of 2010 at the very young age of 45.

The program he started has reached around the world and touched the lives of millions. Many saw Steve’s sudden death as an unfinished work. Yet, in the grander scheme, we are getting only a glimpse of the magnitude of what God wants to do to reach and disciple people with stubborn habits and addictive behavior.

Skepticism creeps into our minds and hearts when our expectations aren’t met; especially when it involves those we love or something we have set our hearts upon. We may think that the work is done because the life of someone is gone from us. I am coming to realize that God is the ultimate decision-maker in any and all situations. His sovereignty reigns supreme over any and all of my plans.

Jesus prayed in the garden; “Not my will, but thine, be done.” we must yield to our Father with the same faith and acceptance that God will work it out for His good. That ‘will,’ or ‘good work’ may be tied to a person. But, ultimately, we must look to our Heavenly Father to take our hand and guide us through the deepest of waters, the stormiest of seas, and the darkest of nights that we will face.

Wherever you find yourself today, know that God will work it out for His good and use us to accomplish all that He set out to do in our life.

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