It’s Okay Not to be Okay

By on October 3, 2018

Trusting the Real God to Complete the Work in the Real You

When I was sixteen, I volunteered at a retirement home, two nights a week and on Saturdays. My responsibilities were fairly basic. I changed bed linens, cleaned bathrooms, and made tea. I loved it and became very fond of several of the residents. I found it sad that some of them never had a visitor, so I signed my mum and my sister up as visitors! One night a nurse had given me a bowl of soup to take to a resident who’d been asleep during dinner. As I left the nurses station I realized that she hadn’t given me a spoon, so I headed back to the kitchen to get one. As I passed the nurses station I overheard this comment: “I don’t know what we’re going to do next week. Two of the nurses are sick and one’s on vacation. Who’s going to run this place?”

I didn’t think much about that as I had to get “Fred” a spoon so I popped into the kitchen and picked one up. As I passed their station on the way back, I heard, “Don’t worry, Sheila’s got it. She can do this by herself now.”

I totally panicked. I gave “Fred” his soup and headed back to their office. I knocked tentatively on the door and when I was invited to come in I blurted out, “I’m so sorry. I love volunteering here, I really do. But I can’t do it all by myself. I’m only sixteen!”

With that, I burst into tears. Well, as you can imagine I’d overheard parts of two conversations. I’d actually been entrusted with giving “Fred” his soup not the running of the entire home. It was quite a relief.

Sometimes we live as if the whole responsibility of living this Christian life is all up to us and it’s overwhelming. We see what’s broken and where we fall short and think we’ll never make it all the way home. When Paul wrote to the Church in Philippi he reminded them, and us, that it was God who began the work. Not only that, he reminded them that God will continue it until the day when we are finally home with Christ. It’s helpful to note that when Paul wrote this letter, he was a prisoner living under the shadow of possible execution. He’s not writing it from a lounge chair at the edge of the ocean, he’s in shackles and yet the message remains: God’s got this. The word that Paul uses for “certain” is the Greek word, “peitho” the strongest word he could have used to describe his absolute conviction about what he was about to share. All of scripture makes one thing clear: whatever God begins He already has the end in sight. If you’re like me, you’ve started projects you never finished, but God never has. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. We are safe in his care. When Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd, He made it clear that no one takes us away from Him.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” John 10:27–30

I have shelves of Bible commentaries at home and one of my favorite series is, Black’s New Testament Commentaries. Marcus Bockmuehl wrote the commentary on Paul’s letter to the Philippians and I love how he unpacks the truth of Philippians 1:6:

“In all this, Paul’s confidence is not in the Christianity of the Christians but in the God-ness of God, who is supremely trustworthy, able, and committed to finish the work he has begun.”

Don’t you love that? Our confidence is not on whether you or I are doing a good job or not but rather in God, our Father who is faithful to finish what He began. You can rest in that. You can take that to the bank. When you are fed up with yourself and feel as if you’ll never make real progress, remind yourself, it’s not up to me, it’s up to my Father and He never fails.

Excerpted with permission from It’s Okay Not to Be Okay by Sheila Walsh.

Sheila Walsh is a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and bestselling author with more than 5 million books sold. She is the author of the award-winning Gigi, God’s Little Princess and In the Middle of the Mess. She is cohost of LIFE Today with James and Betty Robison and her Wednesdays in the Word program, with more than 100 million viewers. Walsh is a popular speaker and Bible teacher around the world, including New Zealand, Australia, and Brazil. She lives in Dallas with her husband, Barry, their son, Christian, and their three pups, Belle, Tink, and Maggie. Her latest book, It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, releases nationwide October 2, 2018.

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It’s Okay Not to be Okay