Paul pens early in his letter to the Philippians, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in your will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). Believing in the truth of this verse isn’t difficult when you have the wind at your back, everything clicking on all cylinders, and life going according to plan. However, it’s another thing when your life is met with struggle, heartache, loss, affliction, disappointment, and difficulty. Those moments make it harder to believe and trust that any good work is taking place.
Although it may be tougher to trust God and his promise when the wind is blowing tumultuously at your progress, the cylinders appear to be broken, and nothing seems to be going according to plan, we must look at the track record of God and see that he is a God who delivers on this promise. Let me share two specific examples.
First, Genesis 1 exhibits God working towards good. Out of nothingness, emptiness, darkness, and chaos, God begins working bringing creation into existence. Every day that goes by God makes a point to share with Himself, and eventually His people, that what He did is good.
Could you imagine being alongside God during the creation project without omniscience to His plan? I’m sure that we would have been like the classic five year old constantly asking questions: “God what is that for?” “Are you going to do anything else?” “What are you going to put in that big body of water?” “Are you done yet?” “How does that work?” “Why did you create that?” “What’s up with this molded piece of dirt?”
But, as God methodically and intentionally works, day-by-day, He brings something very good into existence.
When God creates, He works towards the good of His creation for His glory.
Second, look at the story of redemption. God’s very good, perfect, and glorious creation begun to unravel after the Fall (or rebellion) of mankind. What was very good, ordered, and lovely became in a blink of an eye dark, chaotic, and tainted. And mankind progressed in their darkness, chaos, and rebellion.
When no one would have blamed God for starting all over, He graciously went to Adam and Eve and promised to one day reverse the curse. And that promise led God to go, once again, to work. Thus, God graciously saved Noah and his family, and graciously called Abraham out of his pagan land and religion and promised that through him and his descendants He would work to bless all families of the earth. And God graciously sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world and to reconcile to Himself all things.
Every step of the way, through every millennia and century God has been graciously working towards and for the good of the world. Are there times when reading through the grand narrative of Scripture, and looking at the craziness of the world, one would question the work of God being good, or that there was any progress towards good? Certainly! There are definitely pockets of extreme darkness, hopelessness, and concern. However, God was faithfully present speaking light into darkness, which culminated with the sending of His Son Jesus who came to bring redemption and restoration for God’s people and the world.
Through history, God has continued to be faithful—patiently, and with great grace and mercy—working towards and for the good of creation.
So, when we read that Paul is sure that God “who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ,” Paul is touching on something that God has been historically doing since the beginning of time—working towards and for the goodness of His creation and of His people.
If you are in a season of struggle, dryness, brokenness, sadness, despair, hopelessness, or, anxiousness, rest assure that God is certainly there with you working to complete the good work He has begun in you!