The Joy of Completed Work

Jan 12, 2017Find joy today

As an author, I experience the thrill of feeling God’s pleasure as I write. But I also go through dry times, difficulties. This new year is one of those times. I’m thankful for dear friends and a prayer team who encourage me through. I’m thankful for Jesus who speaks words of insight into the situation.

I think about Jesus, how He must’ve felt leaving earth after His resurrection. He left a ragtag group of men and women, terribly clay footed, on the heels of many personal betrayals. Peter denied Him three times. His disciples scattered in fear. On the road to Emmaus, two didn’t recognize Him.

I wonder, in the human part of Jesus, if He struggled not seeing His work completed or seemingly rewarded. That’s my struggle today, of on the one hand knowing I’m doing God’s work as a writer, but on the other hand not seeing tangible results.

I remember Jesus sitting down at the right hand of the Father, having completed His work, and yet, His work in us is still ongoing. There’s tension there, I think. Completed work, a feeling of accomplishment, yet a longing to see all work completed, all ends tied up.

Jesus said this: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” John 17:4. Could it be that when I struggle and wonder if my words are making a difference that my focus is on earthly, tangible rewards? Could it be that I’m striving more for things that are seen rather than things that are not? Perhaps the work God has called us all to is a quiet, unrecognized one, one that costs us, one that will be rewarded by the God who sees in secret.

Jesus endured the cross for “the joy set before Him.” I fear I’ve wanted the joy here. Now. Today. But He calls me to think of the joy then, in the Great Future. And that’s why He could sit down when He accomplished His work on earth. He had One Master. He kept close to the Father, heard His voice, did His bidding, no matter how counterintuitive or countercultural it may have seemed. And even though His work seemed incomplete (meaning the disciples hadn’t come into their own yet), He knew the entire plan and rested in that.

Since I don’t know the entire plan, I will rest on the sovereignty of God. Or I’ll try. I, by God’s grace, will write for the joy set before me, enduring whatever trials come my way. I pray I can rest there. I pray you can, too.


  1. Jeanine Stewart

    Thank you, Mary. This ties in with what God has been teaching me this week. I’m a musician and writer. I want the applause and the accolades. But it’s all about Christ and glorifying Him. We may not get the pats on our backs or even a thank you. But are we glorifying Him? Are we pointing others to Christ? Are we helping others, even if it’s just one person?

    This week, I asked myself why I write. I must admit, the reasons I listed were upside down. God showed me it’s all about Him. I must remind myself of this daily.

    Oh, and by the way, I have been helped so much by Beautiful Battle. I read it a year ago and read if for a second time in December. Thank you, Mary. Here’s to another jewel in your crown. 🙂

    • Mary DeMuth

      I’m so glad you liked Beautiful Battle, and I’m grateful for the lessons you’re learning through music.

  2. Miriam Cheney

    Love this. I had a conversation along these lines with my twelve year old daughter today, trying to encourage (urge!) her to see the bigger picture of her role as a team player on her school basketball team. It’s what we do when no one is looking that is so important. But I believe your words have made a tremendous difference in the lives of many. My trials are different than yours. I have never walked through the pain you experienced as a child. But I am continually blessed by your testimony and honesty–how the Lord has delivered and restored and redeemed your suffering. Your blog posts have often touched right to the heart of whatever I am living at the moment. “The one who calls you in faithful, and He will do it.” I Thess 5:24 Thank you for being obedient to His invitation and continuing to walk as He leads! 🙂

    • Mary DeMuth

      I love that verse, and I applaud you for shepherding your daughter so well.

  3. Susan G.

    Such truths Mary. Most of us will never see all of our ‘work’ complete…not while here on earth anyway. So thankful God does see the big picture and is already at our ‘end’, and He sees the ‘complete’. I believe we need to stop striving and just be obedient to the next thing He is calling us to. And really be alive and excited for that next thing! I’m talking to myself…at 65. 😉
    Blessings on you Mary!

    • Mary DeMuth

      I like that: “really be alive and excited for that next thing!”

  4. Wayne Stiles

    I appreciate the reminder, Mary, that God sees in secret. NO ONE else does! I’ve recently read the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus talked about the Father seeing our good works done in secret—and I read about Hagar whom “God sees”. Your words echo the affirmations so helpful from God. Thank you.

    • Mary DeMuth

      I’m so glad the post was encouraging, Wayne. Thanks for letting me know.