The Ideal Combination

John 17:1-8

“What is your favorite feeling?” When my sister, Luci, asked me that question recently, my brain began to click through a dozen or more possibilities. Being a person to whom feelings are extremely important, I had a tough time selecting one. Finally, I landed on “accomplishment.” There is nothing quite as satisfying as crossing off the last item on my to-do list at the end of a busy day.

I have often thought of Jesus’ words when He was only hours removed from the cross. In His prayer to the Father, after doing a quick mental pass in review, He said, “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do” (John 17:4). A little over thirty-three years after His arrival in Bethlehem, there He stood in Jerusalem, saying, in effect, “It’s a wrap.” He had done everything the Father sent Him to do . . . and in the final analysis, that’s what mattered.

Oh, the satisfaction that comes from the accomplishment . . . the accomplishment.

Since my conversation with Luci was a dialogue, I naturally was curious about her favorite feeling. Actually, her answer was somewhat akin to mine. “My favorite feeling is relief,” she said.

The relief from pain by finding the right medication. The relief from financial pressure by an unexpected gift or raise or bonus. The relief from panic by finding the lost wallet. The relief from loneliness by seeing the face of a loved one. The relief from despair by hearing your once-rebellious son or daughter say, “I love you.” The relief from guilt and shame by God’s promise of forgiveness.

Who hasn’t swallowed a big knot when entering through imagination’s gate to witness the return of the prodigal son? What relief that father must have felt when he caught his first glimpse of his boy on the horizon. And what relief that son must have felt! When wayward lad and waiting dad embraced, time stood still. Eyes that once burned in anger were soothed in tears as relief on both sides erased all fear. Ah, the relief . . . the relief.

Which is better, accomplishment or relief? Perhaps, like teeth in matching gears, one follows the other. After years of thinking, praying, planning, and dreaming, working to accomplish that goal, we then bask in the magnificent relief such accomplishment brings. Both feelings are heightened.

Think of the years of God’s faithfulness. He saw us through one nagging obstacle after another until the objective was accomplished . . . and the relief experienced.

We don’t need more strength than the strength God gives us. We don’t need more knowledge than we already have. All we need is the will to do what needs to be done.

Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.