“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12 (niv)
One of my friends endured successful heart surgery, and was happy to put the difficult experience behind her. However, the surgeon wanted to follow up with her in a year. She would have preferred to close the file on the whole experience. Waiting for the next appointment was unsettling.
My husband juggles many projects at work. He loves the feeling of getting one completed and out the door, but each time he does, it seems three more appear on his desk. I battle my e-mail inbox, struggling to keep up on answering mail, but each day more appear reminding me that work is never fully finished.
My friends and I who are parents have poured love into our children’s lives. Yet sitting at a high school graduation ceremony, the realization smacks us between the eyes that our role as parents isn’t a closed file. We will never stop caring, praying and longing to be a good influence in our children’s lives.
All of life is a challenge to live with open files—those parts of life that are still in process, whether medical uncertainties, open-ended work projects or parenting. We also live in the midst of open files in our personal development: the longings unfulfilled, the habits that lurk in the background waiting for a moment of weakness, the uncertainties not yet resolved.
I used to think that becoming a Christian closed all files—signed, sealed, delivered. Clear answers to all questions. Every trial explained by a clear purpose.
But I’ve learned to know and love God even more in the open files—the uncertainties—the unfinished race. While we’re here on earth, we haven’t yet reached our goal. The work God has called us to is still in progress. The Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work isn’t finished in our hearts. Because Jesus took hold of us, we can press on.
FAITH STEP: What are the open files in your life? Thank God for all the works in progress that He is completing.
Written by Sharon Hinck
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