Finished {Team Journal}

Today's team journal is written by the DWITW blog and podcast coordinator, Jillian Vincent.

He said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
— John 19:30b

We can’t be trusted with fragile things.

I’ve been cleaning up broken glass for three days straight. The first casualty was my coffee pot, may it rest in peace. I let my two-year-old do the dishes, which was my first mistake. (Because he asked and was I really going to say no to that?) Alas, it did not end well. I think there is still some coffee pot lingering in my garbage disposal. Yesterday, I was rushing and dropped my bowl, splashing yogurt granola parfait all over my living room. Today, I dropped a mason jar while emptying the dishwasher, spraying shards all over my counter, in my tupperware and silverware drawers, and onto the floor. Each time, I’ve been shocked at my own helpless clumsiness, and the sudden fragility of my every day life. The dangerous disruptions have me snatching up my toddler, donning tennis shoes and hand-vacuuming the corners and crevices for minuscule, invisible leftovers.

Recently, I’ve been studying the book of Isaiah. Isaiah’s audience, God's wayward people, are hopelessly dropping the glass ball. Isaiah calls out their habitual sins and describes the just judgment coming for those who follow that path. They, like me, can’t help but drop the precious gifts God gives them. Their hands can not be trusted.

Yet, over and over again in Isaiah, God speaks of a solid, unbreakable hope. There would be a Messiah. He would be broken for us, breaking sin and death forever.

He will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face and remove His people’s disgrace from the whole earth, for the Lord has spoken.
— Isaiah 25:8

Leading up to Easter, I’ve been pondering three words: “It is finished.”

With shaky hands, I try to death-grip my relationships, my roles and even the state of this fallen world. Everything seems so fragile! I’m frightened of my capability to shatter all that God has given me, as if a “Whoopsie Daisy” could fracture God’s plans.

If you asked me if I trust that God has the victory, I would say a resounding, “YES!” But my life doesn’t practically speak of a victory won.

It is not an “It is finished” kind of life.

You know how I know? I’m treating the roles and tasks and relationships God has given me as if they are parfait bowls, coffee pots, and mason jars. Like some comedic act, I’m flailing dishes in the air. I catch a dish and immediately throw it back up again because another is in clear gravitational jeopardy. I don’t have enough hands to carry my own stuff, let alone to carry my children, my husband or this ministry. And lately it seems God is giving me more to juggle. I'm living as if it all still depends on me, after all this time of knowing this good news: it doesn't. My to-do list reflects my desire to be an "Energizer Bunny" for the kingdom, and often my heart slips into anxious hustle. It is no secret that the Savior of the world is not me, and it certainly is not one of The Three Stooges.

In all the juggling, it doesn’t occur to me that I can set it all down. I’m afraid to let go, because what if everything breaks?

I forget. Everything was already broken, so He broke himself! We no longer bear the responsibility and the impossibility of keeping everything whole or cleaning up the mess when everything shatters. He is unclenching my hands from all the dishes and the brooms. I am learning, like Mary, to sit at Jesus' feet. I am learning, like Peter walking on the water, to keep my eyes on Jesus. God himself is whispering the gospel to me. He is gently lifting my chin so I might look at the cross and gaze upon Jesus Christ himself.

Sisters, can you grasp it as I’m beginning to?

God’s Kingdom is not a coffee pot, Amen? It doesn't need bubble wrap! There is nothing precarious about what God has done for us. 

It. Is. Finished.

Over. Complete. Doneso.

I have said these things to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
— John 16:33

What if I took Him at His Word? What if I trusted God that it was done already?

I would live in peace. I would not take the burden of guilt back on myself that He paid for in full.  I would repent and move on. I would rejoice, awe-filled, because (in the words of my toddler) my sin and this world's can be “all gone.” I would live in expectancy for how God will complete what He has started. I would worship Him for every victory I see displayed on earth now and not fret for the times the victory is hidden and the battle feels far from over. I would not take my eyes from the Savior, who, in becoming broken, made the victory unbreakable.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you.
— Isaiah 26:3

It is finished.

It isn’t a question. It’s a statement. It’s an exclamation! It’s a victory cry!

Praise the Lord! The victory does not lay in my clumsy hands, but in his nail-pierced ones.

And because He loves me, He is using my shaky hands. But it ultimately does not depend on me. So I can lift my hands to worship Him! It is finished!

Lord, thank you for finishing it! My hands and heart can’t even grasp the mystery of it, the freedom of it. I confess I’ve been grasping on to my own feeble attempts to do the work that has already been done perfectly by you! I’m sorry when I don’t trust you, your unbelievable work on the cross, and your death-defying declaration. I’m craving an “It is finished” attitude, an “It is finished” kind of day, and an “It is finished” kind of life. And I trust you are already doing it, and in fact, that it has already been done. Amen

Jillian is a lover and follower of Jesus. She's a wife, mother of two boys and a Dayton enthusiast. Jillian currently is a stay at home mama and spends nap times jotting on her blog and discipling other women. She would (almost) die for an avocado, a cup of coffee made by her husband, a novel that makes her cry, and a bouquet of sunflowers.