Unfinished masterpieces betray us; equally as common as their famous, complete counterparts – or perhaps more so — we hide or ignore them because they reveal something about us that we feel uncomfortable admitting.
Political upheaval, rescinded commissions, and deaths of artists have interrupted many a magnificent dream. The completion of Charles Dickens’ final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was suspended by his untimely death; Barcelona’s unfinished basilica, the Sagrada Familia, begun in 1882, stands magnificently and morosely incomplete, with an ever-lengthening completion date; unfinished symphonies by numerous composers such as Beethoven, Mahler, Schubert and Tchaikovsky leave us feeling wistful of their envisioned state. It is natural to feel this sense of regret for the unfinished. Something inside of us yearns to see ventures completed.
As we glance through the remainder of Psalm 106 we see an unfinished novel. We stand before a partially constructed edifice. We hear an incomplete symphony. It is a story of God’s interaction with a people whose purpose was to be a blessing and a light to all nations, but who foolishly rebelled at every turn. Still, God was faithful to remember His covenant; He has always been intent on completing His great plan for humankind.
“Save us, O LORD our God,” we hear the psalmist cry, “and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise” (vs.47). The psalmist is describing his people’s unfinished plight – they’ve become captives of the nations they were intended to bless, and their lips have become silent that were intended to praise God. We hear the disquiet. We feel the angst. Most of these people never knew what it meant to be complete. They never knew the finished work of God in their lives. They never felt whole.
Rebellion does that to us. It tells us any number of little white lies in order to cause us to veer off the path of wholeness. At first we don’t notice it, but gradually, as time passes, we have moments of clarity in which we realize our fragmented lives are lacking. We feel a deep emptiness. We ask ourselves, “Is this all there is?”
“No!” is God’s resounding answer. This is not all there is. There is more, so much more that He has designed us to be, and He is completely prepared to finish His masterpiece. He wants us to know what it is like to feel whole and complete – a finished work of art.
The effort of the whole trinity of God has gone into making it happen. The Father has focused His will on the recovery of our rebellion-prone species; the Son has suffered a death to pay the moral debt of our waywardness and risen to life to open the door for our own resurrection. And here is the capstone: the Holy Spirit lives within those who accept the Father and Son’s finishing work.
God’s Holy Spirit is putting the finishing touches on those of us who long to be whole. He promises it.
“He who began a good work in you,” He pledges, “will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). We will one day be complete. We will be joyfully, heartwarmingly whole. God’s great handiwork will glory in Him as it finally fully reflects its Maker.
So don’t despair. The sense of being an unfinished dream exists as a reminder to give ourselves fully to our Great Artist, Author and Composer. He longs to bring us to completion for eternity, and He will be faithful to do it. That’s a promise.