Last month, I was tasked to reflect on the sixth word of the Seven Last Words of Jesus for one of our Singles Nights. Sharing with you now what I shared with them. Have a blessed Friday!
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30
I would first like to share this beautiful reflection I read in relation to this passage.
When Jesus said “It is finished,” surely he was expressing relief that his suffering was over. “It is finished” meant, in part, “This is finally done!” … Peterson captures the full sense of the verb in The Message: “It’s done . . . complete.” Jesus had accomplished his mission. He had announced and inaugurated the kingdom of God. He had revealed the love and grace of God. And he had embodied that love and grace by dying for the sin of the world, thus opening up the way for all to live under the reign of God.
Because Jesus finished his work of salvation, you and I don’t need to add to it. In fact, we can’t. He accomplished what we never could, taking our sin upon himself and giving us his life in return. Jesus finished that for which he had been sent, and we are the beneficiaries of his unique effort. Because of what he finished, you and I are never “finished.” We have hope for this life and for the next. We know that nothing can separate us from God’s love. One day, what God has begun in us will also be finished, by his grace. Until that day, we live in the confidence of Jesus’ cry of victory: “It is finished!”
“Because of what he finished, you and I are never ‘finished’. We have hope for this life and for the next.”
Sometimes, whenever we are burdened with trials, we tend to question God. Why did this have to happen to me, Lord? What have I done wrong? Have I not been faithful to you?
At one point in my life, I had found myself asking these very same questions. I had just graduated from college and was ready to take on the world, when I was diagnosed with cancer.
I took things in stride at the beginning. I knew I was going to come out of this alive because God had always been good to me and my family. My belief in Him and myself was enough to make me optimistic about the future. So I went with the motions; went on with the treatment.
Halfway through, when I thought I was going to be done with treatment already, my doctor said I needed four more chemotherapy sessions. I was already ready to give up then, on my fifth cycle, the supposedly second to the last one. I had somewhat fallen into depression that time ‘cause I felt like everyone else was moving on with their lives, while I and my family were still doing our best to fight for mine. And I couldn’t understand why I had to go through it in the first place. I lived a relatively healthier lifestyle compared to my college friends. I went to mass every Sunday and served in church with my parents. I always tried to do what I was told. So what exactly did I do to deserve that?
God wasn’t slow in answering my question. It was also Lent that time and I was instantly reminded of all the hardships Jesus had to go through in proclaiming the kingdom of God. It was then I thought, “Wow, Jesus had to go through all THAT and he was already the Son of God. Parang ang kapal yata ng mukha ko mag-complain, wala naman sa kalingkingan ng suffering Niya yung suffering ko.”
Suffice it to say, I felt better. That time also, my friend had sent me the quote from Jeremiah 11:29: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Surely, the fact that I was going through all that and was still kept alive, meant that God still needed me on earth; that he still had plans to prosper me, give me hope and a future. I didn’t really understand anything then, so I just laid everything down and believed.
It was only when I found my purpose and Serviam that I finally began to understand. He needed me to go through that hardship to strengthen me. He needed to allow that event to happen so I would find the motivation to look for the tools I would need to equip me to become the servant leader and faithful proclaimer he wants me to be. Admittedly, my faith back then wasn’t as strong. Despite my coming from a Catholic school, my knowledge of him was superficial. Back then, I regarded God as one who punished people for their wrongdoings. Thus, my questions. Now, I know that he only allows these oppressions to happen to help us learn from our mistakes and come out even better than before.
I’m blessed to be here and declare that I’ve been in remission for 4 years now and, with God’s grace, am starting to build the future he allowed me to hope for. It has not been one without trials; but since God allowed me to go through the greatest hurdle so far, everything now, I just take in stride. I, and my prayer army composed of my family and friends, just lift it all up to him (while I, of course, still do my best). There have already been countless incidences where I have said, “It is finished.”
Like Jesus, we also have to go through many trials and beatings as we go on proclaiming God’s mighty name. Although these trials may seem unsurpassable at first, we should all remember that God will never lead us where his grace could not keep us. Ultimately, every roadblock we face brings us a step closer to Him and his perfect plan. As the old saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” To that, I add, if it does kill you, never fear, for that means your mission here on earth is complete, and a better, happier life with God is waiting in store for you. By then, we too, would be able to say, “It is finished. I am finished. I am done… complete.”