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.
In learning about writing, one will come across the term “denouement.” It means the finale, the conclusion, or as one online dictionary (Merriam-Webster) offers: “the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work… the outcome of a complex sequence of events.” You can’t expect readers to like your book if skimp on the denouement. You’ve got to land the plane. You’ve got to bring it home. You’ve got to get your characters out of the tree you put them in, that same tree you then set on fire as an author. An ending doesn’t need to be happy or fist-pumpingly inspiring, it just needs to satisfy. You need to settle the plot and get your characters out of that burning tree.
Paul is saying here that a life in Christ will have a satisfying ending and be filled with satisfying endings, even though they may not all be happy endings. It is a good work He begins in us… good as He defines it. He will bring it to completion. Nowhere does it say that everything is going to work out just fine or work out just the way you or I want it to. Life can be a “complex series of events” which often has no way of leaping up and forming a happy ending. And sometimes we are so beat up that we are not even looking for that happy ending, just a true ending. In life as in literature, some stories just need to end.
“This too shall pass.” It’s a saying I often heard growing up. It has Middle Eastern origins. No surprise. Many Christians there and everywhere else in the world can add faith to this adage. This too shall pass and, in Christ, I shall pass through it in such a way as to have my faith and its future blessings intact.
Paul told us he was sure of this. We can be too.