The Story’s Not Finished

            My mind takes some roundabout paths sometimes on its journeys, so bear with me as I share a progression of thought I had a wile ago.  I had just finished reading a book called Peace Child, by  Don Richardson.  Written in the 1970s, it gives the account of how missionaries brought the Gospel to the Sawi tribe in Indonesia.  I marveled at how God gave Richardson and his wife the wisdom to draw parallels between certain Sawi customs and Scriptural truths.  Many natives made radical changes in their lives as a result of receiving Christ and living the Christian life.  I have no idea how the Sawi people are doing today, but I’d guess there have been setbacks, as well as victories, as there are in all our lives.

            This reminded me of another missionary story that has never been completed to the best of my knowledge.  About 20 years ago I typed a rough draft of a book manuscript dictated on cassette by Mrs. D., the wife of the pastor where we were attending church.  Mrs. D. was excited that a big named publisher was interested in her book.  It was the story of how the Gospel came to a certain tribe in the Amazon jungle in Brazil. I was curious to know about the progress of the book at one point after my typing job was done, so I asked Mrs. D. about it.  She told me disappointedly that the book wouldn’t be published.  The most notable tribal chief, who had marvelously come to Christ, had committed adultery.  It spoiled her whole story.  But did it have to?  Might this chief have repented and lived a Godly life thereafter?  Could she have written about such a thing after the passage of a few more years?

            One thing I really love about the Bible is that it doesn’t pull any punches.  We see both the victories and setbacks in such notable people as Abraham, Moses, David, and so many others.  You won’t find a more realistic, down-to-earth book.  This gives me hope, as it should for each of us, because it demonstrates that God deals with us where we are, no matter who we are.    As one Christian author pointed out, God accepts us as we are, but He doesn’t leave us there.  Thank God for that!

            The Apostle Paul told the Philippian Christians, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).  Has He begun a good work in You?  He certainly has if you’re born again.  What if you mess up?  What if you say, do, or even think something that’s not pleasing to our wonderful Lord?  Well, your story’s not finished, and neither is mine.  As the Gospel song says, “He’s still workin’ on me, to make me what I ought to be.”

            John offers encouragement in his first epistle.  “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9).  While that verse applies to our salvation, He will surely forgive us after we’re saved.  Also, I Jn. 2: says, “…And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Furthermore in Hebrews 4 we read, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (vv. 15-16).

            There may not be someone writing a book about your life, but that also means there’s no publisher who’s going to cancel your story.  God isn’t through with you or me, and that means our story’s not finished.  Praise Him for His marvelous mercy and grace!

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