It was another long shot. An unfinished, 4’ X 4’ stretched canvas rested, nonchalantly on its easel. I stared at it and it seemed to stare back. For weeks, the painting and I had challenged each other, artist against canvas. But that day, I had determined, would be its last.
My approach to abstract painting has always been a spontaneous exercise. The real painting, as in the finished product, would eventually show up or not. Surprisingly, on this particular day one of my favorite paintings evolved. I had come to the studio with the same determination and resolve that I had approached the drawing board back in graduate school. I had determined the future of this painting. It would be either a finished masterpiece or fodder for the dumpster. “All or Nothing!” Thank God, He doesn’t approach us in that tone of voice.
The unfinished work God is doing often requires His confrontation. Likewise, it requires our full surrender. We’re His canvas. He primes us for His masterpiece. Jesus knows exactly what He is crafting. Even in our indifference, He remains focused. In our inconsistencies, He stands firm. Made in His image, we should rest confidently on His easel. Before the creation of the world, He thought us completely through. He primed us for His purpose with precision. Our Creator-Redeemer knows us well enough to reach us, confront us, and attract us for His purpose. He knows how we best respond to Him.
Like Moses on the backside of the desert, we, too, wander into moments in life that perfect us for His purpose. God knew Moses had a curious nature. Thus, the burning bush attracted him. It brought the timid deliverer to his calling. At the age of 80, Moses found a fresh starting point. The Deliverer of Israel came fully alive! God knows how to finish His work. His timing is perfect.
News Flash: The unfinished work that God is sculpting in our lives is not for us! It is for them. It’s for those whom our lives are meant to challenge and inspire. The Apostles ran their race for them. Not just for the immediate them, but for the future them. It matters not that we know who them is! It matters that we allow HIM to author and finish us and our faith.
Our lives must not stand against Him, but with Him. We must live surrendered, without demanding full understanding. We remain unfinished until the masterpiece He is perfecting is completed. Time is always on His side. We may see ourselves as the unfinished ones. But, it is best to live more transfixed on Jesus than on ourselves. We must live energized and ready for each application. His purpose requires it. For all that is unfinished in you, I remind you of this:
Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)