Friday, December 14, 2007

It is Finished

Biblical scholars beware: this is not an attempt to make Scripture match my means, but the phrase is applicable nonetheless:

It is finished.

I have anticipated this day for the past ten years and I had an idea of the range of emotions that I would feel. However, as in many things in life, I am not really sure if I have lived up to any of those expectations. In fact I am a bit surprised by what has really captured my attention. As you can read in my testimony, in 1998 I was a part of the graduating class of Dover High School in Dover, DE and promptly whisked from Senior to Freshman again at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. And seemingly just as quickly as I entered the ranks of aspiring scholastics everywhere I exited without fanfare and without a degree. Today, however, I am given grace to say “it is finished.”

After a lengthy evening that merged with the morning that has yet to see an end, I entered my Church History classroom of Southeastern Bible College in order to make this part of the church, history. From Christ to Chalcedon was the subject of the exam and I believe I performed decently. This day marks a turning point in my educational career as finally it can be declared that my bachelor’s degree “is finished.” True, there are a few more steps to go, but this milestone is finished. Summa Cum Laude? Magna? How about “thank the.”

I thought that this day would bring about loud shouts of joy coupled with a hearty “hip, hip, hooray!” So far that has not been the case. Strange as it may be, I am quite humbled as I think of the grace that the Lord has provided to me in order for this day to come about. His grace was evident as He called me out of darkness and into light granting me the grace of repentance and a hope for a future. His grace was evident as He sovereignly orchestrated events in such a way that it was abundantly clear that the path of education was where I was to go. He gracefully opened doors, He gracefully closed doors, and He gracefully shed light little by little all along the way. If He had revealed it all at once, I would not have been able to take the full dose and my fears likely would have overwhelmed me. But He is gracious; He knows what He is doing. He provided, He provided, and He provided again. If this provision were contingent upon my obedience, my goodness, my faithfulness, my consistency, or my deservedness it would never have come to pass. I have failed in so many ways and at so many times and against so many people that this could not possibly be the reason. The only justifiable answer that will suffice is that in His infinite wisdom and according to His sovereign good pleasure He has deemed it good that this grace should fall to me.

“Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.” (Psalm 66:1-2)
This day has given me great reason for reflection and no matter which way I look at it, I must acknowledge that God deserves all credit and glory. That He would even let me learn the tiniest truth (for all truth is God’s truth) is an act of His grace. I was once an enemy of the cross and I was once alienated and hostile in mind doing evil deeds (Col 1:21). I am still at times hostile in mind and doing evil deeds, but His power subdues my will and bends it to His own despite my continual rebellion. For reasons only known to Him, He has graciously chosen to redeem me from destruction.
”Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.” (Psalm 66:5)
There are so many individuals and organizations that have contributed to the progression towards this day. Administrations, professors, friends, mentors, classmates, and the countless individuals who I will never recall their names but somehow in some way have made an impact on me for good. God is indeed sovereign.

However, as important as all these are, aside from the Triune God, there is only one who is worthy of mentioning by name – my wife Kimberly. No one has sacrificed as much as she has in order to see this day arrive. No one has endured more heartache, suffered the burden of financial stress, emotional anguish, and the fires of sanctification than she. I can not rightfully even include myself in this category. She has labored through sleepless nights which lead to irritability and distance on my part. She has had to endure through times of seeming separation as I was studying and preparing assignments. She has had to bear the brunt of my poor choices when I have wrongfully chosen to study rather than sit with her. And above all these, she comes in direct contact with my own sinfulness on a daily basis as she sees the unseen of who I really am. And by God’s grace, she still chooses to love me and is willing to come up under me and support the mission to which she believes that we have been called.

Kimberly, you are a trophy of His grace and I am abundantly undeserving of His provision. There is not a day that passes that I do not thank God for you multiple times, and to my shame, I do not make this clear to you. You have given so much of yourself and I trust that the Lord will reward you for such. You are “far more precious than jewels” and there is no other who I desire to make proud. The praises of men are fleeting, but the praises of a wife will last forever. I want to make you proud. “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

I love you. This day is rightly more yours than it is mine. So together we say, “It is finished.”


Anonymous said...

Very Exciting! Looking forward to see what God will do through you. "Trophy of Grace", I like that..

KC Armstrong said...

"Trophy of Grace", I like that..

I just call it like I see it! But I can't claim credit for this one. Thank Edward Griffin (1770-1837).

Thanks, DeDe! Happy Birthday!!