Learn English – What does “I don’t think God’s through with me,” mean


In addition to the comment, “I don’t have to go any further than the mirror. It’s me and me alone,” I was interested to find another repentant phrase, “I don’t think God’s through with me,” in John Edwards' remark after coming out of the courthouse that judged his campaign fraud trial.

In May 2nd New York Times article titled, “Mr. Edwards and the Shrimp,"

"Edwards thanked the jurors for acquitting him of one count of campaign finance violations and failing to come to a decision on the other five. “I don’t think God’s through with me,” he added. – – Although Edwards was appropriately vague about what he thought God had in mind. He did say he hoped to do something to help children “in the poorest parts of this country.”

As the writer says “Edwards was ‘appropriately vague’ about what he thought God had in mind,” I’m not clear with what is exactly meant by “I don’t think God’s through with me.”

OALD defines “through with sth /sb” as “Especially AmE. Used to show that you have finished using something or have ended a relationship with somebody.” So I guess “God’s through with me” means (he didn't think) “God abandoned (him),” but I'm not sure of.

Although OALD says it’s especially American, is “God’s through with me (us, them)” well-accepted in English speaking countries other than America?

Can I say “Voters are through with the candidate,” “It looks my boss is through with me,” “I heard she is through with her husband”?

Best Answer

I believe that Edwards is saying that God still has work for Edwards to do - presumably something to help children “in the poorest parts of this country.”

However, the phrase can also be construed to mean that Edwards is not a finished product - that God still has some work left to do on him to make him a better person. Many years ago at Vacation Bible School, I learned a little song:

We're kids under construction
Maybe the paint is still wet
We're kids under construction
The Lord might not be finished yet.

I can't answer your question about acceptance in countries/regions other than the US - but I can tell you that through with x is a widely-used construction in the US; it can mean

There's also a closely-related (but not identical) idiom when I get through with x, which can mean:
- when I've finished working: I'll call you when I get through with my report.
- when I'm done beating/punishing (a person): When I get through with you, you'll wish you'd never been born.
- an ironic positive usage, based on the previous: You think you love Sue, but when I get through with you, you won't ever look at Sue again. (Patsy Cline, When I Get Through With You You'll Love Me True)

Finally, there is a similar but unrelated phrase to get through, meaning to arrive at a destination despite obstacles or interference: The message got through at last. If it's a messenger or a courier who arrives, s/he might be carrying something, and one might say that s/he "got through with" it: Balto and his team got through with the diphtheria antitoxin just in time. Again, however, this is an unrelated usage.