The following is from -- Craig Brian Larson, "Strong to the Finish,"
It was a hot day--Tuesday, July 20, 1993, in Washington, D.C.--as Vincent Foster sat in the Rose Garden. That morning he watched as President Clinton announced his new FBI director. Foster returned to his White House Counsel's office after the ceremony. He took care of some legal business, then talked with President Clinton, his boyhood friend, for a few moments. He ate lunch that day at his desk.
A little after one o'clock, Foster left the office, telling his staff he would return. He pulled his Honda Accord onto the streets of Washington, D.C., and drove to a little-visited national park on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River. He got out, leaving his suit coat in the car. In his hand was an antique, .38-caliber revolver. He walked across an open field. Standing beside a cannon pointing out over the woods, Vincent Foster took his own life.
When President Clinton heard the news, he called together his staff to console them on the loss of someone that they all loved. Then President Clinton said these words: "It would be wrong to define a life like Vincent Foster's in terms only of how it ended."
Clinton is right in one sense. But the sad fact is that no matter how much Vincent Foster's friends, family, colleagues, and workmates try to put the end of his life out of their minds, how his life ended will always overshadow his memory. Because how a life, a ministry, a job, or a relationship ends defines and colors all that goes before it.
I've had the pleasure of knowing people who have finished their lives well. That is a joy to see. I have a friend who is in his late 80's living in a care center who has a young heart to serve the Lord. While his life (like most) has had its share of disappointments, he stills prays for people, serves others, and witnesses to the grace of God in the Lord Jesus.
I've also had the disappointment of seeing others who professed to know the Lord, but for whatever reason (lost love, disappointment with God, etc...) they walked away. When I was a new Christian in my first year college, that surprised and disappointed me. Now many years later it just disappoints. Sometimes people pursue the Lord thinking that it will get them what they want (fixed relationships, a new job, happiness, etc...). While God may give us some of those things we want, He does not owe us those things. However, God is still worthy of our worship and service for who He is, regardless of what we think we want.
Finishing well comes from pursuing knowing God better in all of the circumstances of our lives.