It is finished

They will make it

Taylor, my oldest daughter, and I started watching The X Files last summer. It was a 90s TV show reminiscent of The Twilight Zone.

Many times within the 9 seasons of The X Files you believe the protagonists, Mulder and Scully, are going to die or are dead already.

It is fascinating how in the midst of the story arc or even in a single episode, the emotions still get wrapped into the moment, wondering if they will make it.

It does not matter that I already know they are going to make it.

The ability to suspend knowledge, to engage in the moment as if the outcome is unknown is remarkable.

Already, but not yet

The narrative of the Bible is similar. Do you ever get confused with language that speaks of God seeing something already complete, although it isn’t?

Is it hard for you to grasp how God knows what is going to happen, especially when it seems to depend on choices others have to make?

There is an already/not yet tension we deal with. In one sense, the story arc is finished and known. But we have not yet watched it and experienced it ourselves.

For example, God has “put everything under man’s feet…yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.” (Heb 2:8) Well, how has he already done it then?

In one sense God’s “work has been finished since the creation of the world.” (Heb 4:3) On the other hand, the “Father is always at his work to this very day” (John 5:17). Well, which is it?

The writer to the Hebrews says “Anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.” (4:10-11)

How does one rest from work and make every effort at the same time? Rest and effort seem mutually exclusive.

Our work inside his rest

Allow me to connect it back to watching a TV series, without concluding I’ve gone over the deterministic ledge.

We have entered a storyline God has already written. The effort we put in is to engage in what he has already completed. Our work is to be seen as embedded in God’s work.

For me, this is a freeing perspective. I am free to enjoy the thrills of each episode’s positive turn, as well as get mad and frustrated at the twists and cliffhangers. I can fully engage in the present realities, while all along being assured of the outcome.

My attitude should be shaped by Jesus’ declaration that “It is finished.” (John 19:30) He is not only the author of the story, but finisher, too (Heb 12:2, KJV). Those are promises.

They give me hope that even in my effort I can be at rest. I can bank on the fact that God has both ceased from his work and is at work for me right now. I can trust that he has put everything under my feet, though I don’t see it yet.

Title Signature Screenshot Cartoon 2015