It’s done. 11 months, 49 pages and 15,000 words later, my thesis is finished. Hours, days, months of research, writing, revising, writing again, more research, writing, revising, revising, revising. All of that, packaged into a 49 page PDF and emailed to 4 professional historians who will decide my fate. Awesome.
Now, I’m not exactly jumping up and down for joy just yet. That has a lot to do with the impending defense that determines whether I pass or fail. I’m not sure if it is the thought of a years work finally coming to a close or the fact that the outcome of four years in an honors program is hanging in the balance of what a group of brilliant professors think about something I wrote, but a ton of questions have flooded my mind in the past couple of days:
Did I write enough?
Did I use enough sources?
Do my sentences make sense?
Should I have worked harder?
Did I read enough books?
Are the footnotes correct?
I put it in Times New Roman right?
Do I sound smart enough?
Do I deserve to pass?
What is a thesis?
Do I really need to graduate with honors?
How much plasma will I have to sell to make a living?
How do you DHON?
It has to stop. I won’t be able to answer those questions. And I won’t be able to fix any errors. There is no more revising, and no more editing. They have probably already read it. It’s out of my hands. It is finished. Now why can’t I rest in that?
Earlier this week we celebrated Easter. In that celebration, we commemorate Jesus Christ dying on the cross, and with some of his last breaths saying, “It is finished” (John 19:30). One death, one sacrifice, one gift for all of eternity. We celebrate this truth, yet we continue to rack our minds with countless questions:
What am I supposed to do with my life?
How do I know I am forgiven?
Are my sins too much?
Did I cross too many lines?
Does God still love me if…?
What job do I take?
Which translation of the Bible do I need to read?
How could a loving God let this happen to me?
These questions are not irrelevant. I won’t pretend that they don’t matter. But these questions can drive us crazy. They can cripple us spiritually, create divisions among our friends, and lead us into a state of constant inner turmoil. God’s grace doesn’t make sense to us. We don’t deserve it. We have sinned too much. He shouldn’t love us, and He shouldn’t forgive us. But He does. And when He sent His son to live a perfect life and serve as the perfect and final sacrifice, He meant it when He said, “It is finished.”
We can’t go back and change anything we have done. We can recognize our mistakes, and we can wish that we had used spell check one more time, but we can’t change them. We can’t do anything to make Him love us any more, or any less. All we can do is rest faithfully in the truth that “It is finished,” and respond obediently as children of God.