“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8 ESV)
When I was a child, we had a swimming pool, and one of my favorite things to do was to create wakes. What I mean is this. I would put my feet on the side of the pool, and then I would push off as hard as I could, arrowing through the water like a boat leaving a wake behind it. I would see how far I could go on the strength of just one push. How long of a wake could I leave? The disturbance in the water did not last very long, but it was beautiful.
I think about that sometimes as I grow older, because our lives on earth are very much like wakes, aren’t they? When we are young, we have strength and energy and we push off as hard as we can, changing the world behind us. But sooner or later we run out of power. The big push is over, and things are slowing down. And we look back to see how we did.
This is where Paul is—coming to the close of his life, thinking about what lies before him. Soon he will be with Christ, and that will be joy. But what about his wake? What has God done through him, during the short years of his life?
Paul’s answer is the answer we all wish for ourselves: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, Ihave kept the faith.” You can hear the joy in Paul’s voice. Not that his life was perfect—after all, he had been a persecutor and a murderer in his day. And even after Jesus brought him to faith, there were still regrets, like the disagreement he had with Barnabas (see Acts 15:39). Paul’s life was like our lives, and the wake he would leave was nowhere near perfect. But God would use it.
No matter what time of life you are in, you are in God’s hands. Have you done everything you wanted to do? Probably not. But you are in Christ, who died for you and rose again to give you new, everlasting life. You are a child of the Father, who will use you—even you!—to further His kingdom. And you are a person in whom the Holy Spirit lives, doing His work even when you don’t notice. Your wake is in God’s hands. Trust yourself to Him.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you see what I have made of my life. Thank You for what is good, and please forgive and mend what is broken. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on October 19, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Where are you in regards to your wake—at the beginning, middle, or end?
2. How do you find hope in God for the regrets that you have?
3. What do you thank God for? How have you seen Him use your life for His work?