When You Are Done but God Is Not


Your oldest child heads off to college. A friend you led to Christ and have been discipling moves over 1,000 miles away. Your work contract ends and those you have seen and witnessed to daily for years fade from your life. Our time on earth often passes in cycles—family cycles, ministry cycles, and work cycles. We go from one phase to the next. What has been will be no more. What will be in the next phase is often unknown. Solomon wrote of these changes: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). How do we respond to the changes brought about by the natural cycles of life?

God’s Promise through the Cycles of Life

In Philippians 1:3–6, Paul notes the passage of time and the changes in his relationship with the believers in Philippi, Greece. The apostle speaks of the “first day,” the period of time when he was with them in person (Acts 16:12–40). Paul led them to Christ, planted their church, and faced great adversity. Then, he speaks of the period of time from those first days “until now.” For most of this time, Paul could not be with these young believers, but they had grown in the Lord in his absence. Finally, Paul speaks of the period ahead which will culminate in “the Day of Jesus Christ.” As he looks ahead, Paul records one of God’s great promises that comforts and encourages us as we move from one phase of life to another: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). God is not done, even we when we are.

Scenarios of Life Change

Scenario #1: Your oldest child heads off to college. You, as a parent, are no longer the closest and possibly greatest influence in your child’s life. The period with the most opportunities for discipleship is now behind you. You can have confidence that, though the majority of your work in this child’s life is finished, God’s work in His own will continue.

Scenario #2: A friend you led to Christ and have been discipling moves over 1,000 miles away. Your role as spiritual mentor will inevitably decrease. Yet, God, who never leaves or forsakes His own, promises that He will complete His work in your friend, regardless of where life takes this young believer (Hebrews 13:5).

Scenario #3: Your work contract ends or maybe you move to a different neighborhood. Those you have seen and witnessed to daily for years now fade from your life. You still care for their souls and pray for their salvation. Who will share the gospel with them now that you are gone? God, who is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” will continue what you have begun (2 Peter 3:9). Though we do not know if or when a person will come to Christ, God often brings other believers and circumstances into the lives of those we share about Him. We may be only one of many influences that lead to someone’s salvation. What God begins, He will continue.

Moving Ahead with Confidence

God is not done, even when we are. Life changes. God moves us from phase to phase. Be faithful in whatever your current stage is. Live there to the fullest, serving God and those He brings into your life. When He moves you on (or them on), be confident. It’s not all about you. You are not indispensable.* But God is. And He promises that the good work He starts He will complete until the day Jesus Christ returns.

*For a real-life example about learning we are not indispensable, read Day 3 of my missions devotional, Daring Dependence: A 31-Day Journey with those who Found their Strength in God.

MR Conrad Bio

Dr. Conrad serves in urban Asia. He, his wife, and their four children squeeze into a 700 square-foot apartment where he seizes rare moments of quiet to write amidst homeschooling, a cacophony of musical instruments, and the steady stream of visitors they so enjoy having in their home. He enjoys birding, board games, and basketball. He is the author of, so far, two books.