Ever had one of those days? I had several in a row. And by “several,” I mean at least 10 years’ worth. They were days of never feeling quite … finished. I would get to the end of the day and think, what did I actually get done? It wasn’t that I hadn’t accomplished anything. But when you have five children in seven years, there will no doubt be days when, while you’re trying to salvage the toaster (the one someone used to try to toast Milk Duds), one of the other kids tells you your toddler covered the cat with pudding and your first-grader just threw up in the toy box.
Without even resorting to laundry stories, I could tell an extra-large load of stories of finishing a day without really finishing what I felt I should’ve finished. And if I did mention laundry, I would have to wonder how many mornings I felt relatively okay about the fact that the kids were digging through the clean basket of laundry for something to wear instead of the dirty one. Every day seemed to be a new experience in unfinished business.
Now the kids are grown and I’m in a new season. And I have to tell you, at the end of a day, there’s just about as much I feel I’ve left hanging (and no, that’s not a laundry reference). Deadlines, tapings, contacts and contracts – and, oh my goodness, there’s still laundry.
I’ve made a discovery through all the years of unfinished business. I’ve discovered that I fret the most about what I’m not accomplishing when I’m struggling to accomplish it all in my own strength. And that’s when I end up focusing on all the wrong accomplishments anyway.
There’s a sort of recalibration of the focus and a completely different outlook on those worries over what I haven’t yet done when I realize that everything truly vital in this life – everything really worth finishing – has already been accomplished by the “Author and Finisher” of our faith. At each point I surrender and let the Finisher do the finishing, let the Completer do the completing, I can stop the sweating and experience His peace. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, though Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20-21).
He is the Completer of every good work – and He does that finishing work “in” us. He is faithful to finish the works that really count – as faithful as He is to accomplish the saving work in us. When the Father completed His redemptive plan through the sacrificial death of His Son on the cross, the most glorious words of all time reverberated across eternity: “It is finished.”
Resting in His finished work gives us an entirely different take on the looming deadlines and the toasted Milk Duds. It moves the “finish line” to a reachable spot – one He will reach for us and in us in the most glorious way. And I think we can call that our big finish.