I’m a simple man. I can’t do too many things at once. If I’m driving with my wife and we start to talk about something important the car begins to slow down. I can’t talk about something meaningful and drive at the same time!
As a counsellor, there is always one thing that is on my mind as I meet with people. Have I helped them see that God is still at work? Most people come to counselling because they are discouraged, stuck, moving toward hopeless and despair, doubting that God is still working in them and in their situation.
Paul reminds us of a great promise in Phil.1:6. He says,”And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”. And Paul says he’s sure of this! This is very encouraging as a counsellor because every time I sit down with someone I should be able to see ways that God is currently at work. God began a good work and it is going somewhere and it will continue until we see Jesus face to face and there is no more work to be done. We will then be the benefactors of His glorious and complete work. No more sanctification, only glory!
I remember a significant moment during my training at CCEF as I was watching a seasoned counsellor work with a woman who had made an infinite number of terrible decisions and found herself in a mess that seemed impossible to escape from. On this particular day, after listening to a string of poor decisions which had caused much pain and heartache, he paused and found one thing in the whole mess that encouraged her that God was still with her, still working in her, that He hadn’t given up on her. It amazed me! There were so many things to address in this line of failures and sinful patterns and he noticed one thing that reminded her God was still with her. I never would have seen it! But it changed everything. Her life was still a mess but over time it became a mess that she believed God cared about and was involved in. Just by highlighting one small way that God was still at work, she was able to see the gospel again. She remembered that God still loved her even when she sinned and disobeyed him.
What this all means is that every time we meet with someone who is struggling, moving toward hopelessness, we can be sure with Paul, God is still doing something! If we can help others see this reality, it can move them one step closer to hope, one step closer to Jesus. And even when we can’t see it, we can trust that God is behind the scenes completing His work!
Brian Munnings is a Christian Counsellor and the director of counselling at Toronto Biblical Counselling (TBC).