Twenty-three years ago I encountered Jesus in a middle school cafeteria for the first time. I wandered into the room completely broken, alone, and desperate. But something happened between “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” and “Shout to the Lord.” There was an energy all around me, but it wasn’t from the music. There was no audible voice from God, but somehow I sensed His presence, and these words were impressed on my heart: “I am with you always.” I wanted whatever that was, and was compelled to say, “Yes” to Jesus.
At seventeen, I was naive. I did not realize that my “yes” to Jesus in the cafeteria was only the beginning of a new kind of life. I knew I wanted to follow Jesus, but that’s about all I knew. I had no idea what it meant to follow Jesus. I did not understand how to read the Precious Moments Bible my grandparents had given me as a little girl. I was not sure why I should pray - or even what that meant. I had no foundation other than Jesus. However, I can look back now and see that I am not the same girl that I was twenty-three years ago.
Paul, the first-century church planter, writes these words to the Philippian church:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
This is true for all of us. When we say yes to following Jesus, this is when God begins this “good work” Paul writes about. And God’s good work is unending. Very little in our world today can be described as “unending” - relationships, resources, and riches are all finite, making “unending” almost unfathomable. But God is constantly at work in our lives, transforming us as we grow in our faith. No matter how long we have been following Jesus, no matter how many times we have read our Bible, no matter how old we are, God is still working in us and through us to bring the good work He began in us to completion. And His work is not done until we breathe our last breath.
To be honest, I have really struggled over the years. There were days when I wasn’t even sure I was still following Jesus, feeling completely useless to God. But there were also moments of growth - moments of change - moments of transformation. I was learning how to trust God in the midst of difficult situations as I learned who He was. My journey with Jesus has been slow. I still struggle and suffer and wrestle with God at times. I am still broken. But it is in these moments of pain when Jesus reminds me, “I am with you always. And I am still bringing to completion My good work in you.” Growth might be painful, but change is inevitable, and God’s unending change within us is always worth it.