Earlier this summer, bird watchers in the United Kingdom were ecstatic with the news that the white throated needle-tail had been spotted. A bird indigenous to Asia and Australia, it rarely is seen on the other side of the world. In fact, it had only been seen there 8 times since 1946, the last being in 1991. As news of the sighting spread, people quickly made travel plans in the hopes of catching a glimpse of history. Through binoculars, countless eyes enjoyed the wonder of this bird capable of speeds up to 105 mph. It was a bird watcher’s Super Bowl. Then tragedy struck, or more like a wind turbine blade. The crowds gasped in horror as they watched the needle-tail fly directly into the spinning blade of a wind turbine. And then it was over. One moment things were flying high, the next they were crashing to the ground.
We’ve all had those experiences. Things were going well and then the unexpected happens. Perhaps it was a doctor’s visit, a job situation or a relationship that hit a rough patch. Maybe it’s just change in your life. There can any number of things that wake us up to life’s reality. We have a natural tendency during those times to want to hit snooze. We don’t like the wake up calls. Life is easier when we are comfortable, although not necessarily better.
There are no formulas to protect us from unexpected events or the frustration or pain they may cause. However, there is hope to carry into them. There is hope in the midst of them. There will be a greater appreciation for hope after them.
In Philippians 1:6, Paul states, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
A few things that bring encouragement from this verse:
1. In uncertain times, God is a sure thing. There are not many things you can be certain of in life. The only certainties the world can look to are not good things. That is why Paul’s encouragement stands in such stark contrast to our experience. Paul admonishes people who don’t know what life holds with a particular good. That certainty is God’s ongoing hand in the process. Tremors test the foundations of one’s life. The person who trusts Jesus can be confident. Things on the shelf may rattle, but the foundation is sure. This causes us to rely on Him even more.
2. God will finish what He started. It didn’t start with you and it doesn’t end with you. God is the beginner and the perfecter. Frustration and pain now serve as arrows to point us to Jesus and ultimately serve as conduits of His grace. Pain in the life of the believer is never wasted. Are you tired of the struggle? Take heart, God’s not done with you yet. He started a good work in you and He will see it accomplished. It’s not neutral work or busy work, it’s a good work. It’s God’s work in you.
3. Jesus says when. It serves to remind us that we don’t call the shots on when we think God is done with us. The completion date is “at the day of Jesus Christ.” This is a wake up call to those who think they’ve arrived. You haven’t. This is encouragement to those in the midst of the struggle. Press on. To those who are weary, Jesus will see you to the end. He will lead you to the end. And when you get to the end, you will realize a glorious new beginning.
False hopes bring real letdowns. Bird watchers looked to the skies for a hope that ends with disappointment. Believers look to the skies for a hope that is certain.