Thank God, It Is Completed

Two weeks ago, I typed some final words in a LibreOffice document. I scrolled through the 70+ pages, checking for gaps and obvious mistakes. Then I went back down to the bottom. The last words made me smile: “Thank God, it is completed.”

Those words were quoted from a song chosen by my great-grandmother Annie Frey Weber for her funeral. She lived a long life with humor and grace. It was not without its trials–which included the death of her husband after five years of marriage, separation from her children, and health problems. But she found her joy in the Author and Finisher of her faith.

During the last two years or so, I have spent countless hours researching Annie’s life, hunting up old letters she wrote, and writing her life story. I’ve talked with relatives: my grandfather, great-aunt, cousins-once-removed, and others. My friends and family helped keep me accountable to work at it when my motivation lagged. And now, two weeks ago, I finished the first draft.

I looked at the word count. 27,600+ words.

Really?

After all that time I put into it, that’s all?

And that was the sum of a life. I had chronicled almost every incident about great-grandma Annie that I could get my hands on. But still, only 27,600 words.

That night as I prepared for bed, I couldn’t help but ponder. Annie Weber lived only a few generations ago, and already this small account is all that remains on earth to testify to her life. Does a life have no more import than that?

But. I was only counting words.

That’s not the only measure of a life. What about the three children and many grandchildren and greatgrandchildren that her life paved the way for? What about the many people she inspired while she was on earth? What about the testimony that still lives on in the stories about her, the faith that moved me to tears as I looked over the extent of her life?

She lived her life in submission to God, and it was not in vain. I pray that the hours I have spent in writing Amen to Thy Will won’t be in vain either–that someday, a wider audience can also be inspired by the story of her life.

P.S. I’m currently working on book revisions and getting feedback. Stay tuned for updates, and to hear when the book becomes available to buy.

The Author and Finisher

One Sunday afternoon my siblings and I played a story game with some friends. Everyone wrote a sentence on a sheet of paper, folded it over, and passed it to the person next to them. Each person read only the previous sentence before adding one of their own to continue the story.

As the game progressed, there was no way of knowing what had been written that was now under numerous folds of paper. Sometimes we could add a next sentence right away, but more often we shook our heads or laughed. How to coherently take on someone else’s thought when we had no idea what the beginning was?

And even harder—how to write a satisfying ending? We took our best guesses and engaged our creativity.

When it came time to read the completed stories, everyone took a sheet and unrolled it to read to the rest. The varied handwriting and pen colors told the tale of a multi-authored story. Hearty laughter erupted at the odd—and mostly inadvertent—twists produced by the passing on of words and imagination from one person to another. Characters switched names halfway through, a windy hilltop became an ocean, a frog was banished to an insane asylum.

Amid the fun, I thought of a song I had listened to not long before: “If all things start and end with Him/ then we can believe / His word comes true.”

I have heard countless times that God is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. But suddenly I understood its significance more than ever before. He does not merely begin the story, then pass it off to us to do as we please with. Nor does He make us write the beginning and start stumbling about for a while before He steps in to complete the story with a nice stock ending.

Nothing of the sort will do for the beautiful stories God wants to write for our lives. He begins our stories with His own hand, a new beginning every time. He labors over the writing as only love can do. He walks us through the painful process of editing and shifting about of sentences. It is the same handwriting all through, sure and stately.

Granted, the story will most likely unfold with surprising plot twists. But it is God Himself who gives meaning to all the scenes. And it is God Himself who weaves the most profound and beautiful ending possible, opening out into the glory of His everlasting Kingdom.