I frequently hear the phrase ‘God’s not finished with me/you yet’ passed around in Christian conversations. I always took that as an encouragement not to give up on pursuing obedience and righteousness, because ‘He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.’ This phrase has lost its rosy glow for me in the past year or so. Not to say it is something I do not like to hear or think on, still. I have just found a deeper meaning in it than I knew before. To me, God’s not being finished in me is much more than an encouragement, it is an often painful promise my Father makes to me as His child.
When I was a young child, I recall a person in my life telling me that I should pray to God and ask Him for whatever it was I wanted. This advice coincided in timing with a Sunday school lesson about Solomon, the wisest man who had ever lived. Solomon had the chance to ask anything of God, anything at all, and he chose wisdom, a quality that is inherent to the nature of God Himself. I remember at that time resolving to begin praying for wisdom. After all, it worked so well for Solomon, right? I mean he got a castle full of riches, cool friends like the Queen of Sheba and a ton of beautiful women for company, he was super smart, could resolve the trickiest of arguments, and was super wise to boot. So, 7 year old me reasoned that at least a few friends, a loving future husband, the ability to bring my parents back together, and a Victorian style home could be in the works if I asked for wisdom.
Flash forward to today. I am a perpetually single, 22 year old woman with divorced parents who is soon to be renting a room in a Barbie pink, Victorian home. I question the wisdom of my own (and admittedly sometimes others’) choices and actions seemingly nonstop. I find myself in a multiplicity of difficult situations, hoping for just a shred of godly insight into one of them that might clue me in on how to respond in a wise manner, making peace and allowing me to finally sleep through the night without invasive thoughts interrupting my slumber.
Last Sunday night, I was on the verge of giving up entirely and giving in to the lure of spending the next few weeks in my bed, staring up at the ceiling. I rationalized that I didn’t very much like anything in my life at this point, nothing was pleasant, everything seemed to be becoming increasingly difficult, people and my response to them aggravated me, I felt perplexed over my next steps, and unable to resolve any of the problems I was able to see (and who knows how many more lied under the tip of that iceberg). I managed to struggle through the week, knowing I had a four day escape if I could only make it to the end of Wednesday.
This weekend was nothing short of an absolute Godsend.
I was able to spend time physically away from the place where the majority of my current difficulties stem from, and therefore could isolate and tackle personal thoughts and misconceptions that have been driving a few circumstances back home.
Resolve. It has been a foreign concept for a little while, but it resurfaced and flourished under the patient ear and response of a dear friend. Courage grew in the same way. But I’d say the most encouragement came from the reminder that I am not held responsible for the things I wish I was given or have not been given. I am responsible to the Lord for what I do with what He gives, not for what others place upon me that has not been given to me by Him. My calling is to glorify Him, not please others who attempt to manipulate me using guilt. I am learning that guilt itself betrays the bearer as untrue, because my Father has declared me free from condemnation upon seeing the blood of His Son covering me.
Perhaps, one of the greatest things I can gain in this world is the same thing I asked for as a misdirected 7 year old. Maybe wisdom is a side effect of God working to shape me in the midst of difficulty and pain; a character quality that is more desirable than riches. Wisdom, a lens that changes the view of the wearer, is not so much a means to receiving my deepest longings- but a way to reshape my longings by showing their actual worth or lack thereof.
“From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air. Abaddon and Death say, ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’ God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder, then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out. And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”
He’s not finished with me yet.