Tag Archives: life

Happy Endings

You know that point in a movie when you start to wonder if things will really turn out ok.
Like, you thought you had chosen a comedy, but in the middle it appears to be a tragedy.
Orphan Annie just got tricked into leaving millions for some posers for parents…
Elsa may be able to “Let it go,” but a sister just turned into a piece of solid ice…
A blue macaw who can’t fly just jumped from a plane to save his Jewel…
When we reach that point in the movie, our 11 year old always reminds us, “Don’t worry. There will be a happy ending.” Sometimes he goes on to what seems as him needing to convince himself: “There just has to be a happy ending!”
I hold my tongue, because while that’s not always the case… with the movies we watch, he’s right. We choose happy endings.

But, in real life.
We read the news and sometimes we’re tempted to wonder if things will really turn out ok.
Orphans all around the world are tricked into all sorts of atrocities never to be rescued…
How can those 21 families left behind ever let those images go…
And what is up with every other headline being about a plane crash somewhere?!

I’ve been thinking so much about this. Just finished reading a book recommendation from a friend, and there it hit me in the last chapter. Jumping off page 305 was exactly what my 11 year old keeps telling me. The one line that I want to cling to for the rest of my days, come what may.

When you know that the story will end well, it is almost impossible to be afraid.
Edward T. Welch

When it appears the world is coming unglued, it can be terrifying to think of what may lie ahead. We may know in our heads that it’s all part of a good story unfolding, but our hearts may not be so courageous. Before we can encourage others not to be afraid, we have to remind ourselves. Regardless of the sorrow and tears and pain your story may hold…for the people of God, there will always be a happy ending.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem,
coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people!
He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said,
“Look, I am making everything new!”
And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”
And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End.
To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.
All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings,
and I will be their God, and they will be my children.
Revelation 21.1-7

Christian, your story is not a tragedy–it doesn’t just end with a funeral.
Christian, your story is a comedy–it always ends with a wedding!
Do you believe this? Like, reeeeally believe it. This is not just a “skim it and move on” type of passage. It’s a call to truly live and breathe and perhaps, even die. Because it goes on…

But cowards,
unbelievers,
the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers,
and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
Revelation 21.8

This life is tricky. From the outside, it may appear it all ends the same. But. The end is only just the beginning. With these earthly eyes, we see defeat rather than the victory of standing firm for what is more important than even life itself. Imagine the rejoicing in heaven that day when 21 men were welcomed to their forever home…not just any 21 men…21 men who were unashamed to kneel their lives before their God, even if it cost them their heads. Because they trusted. “You belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” [1 John 4.4]. We see the struggle in the middle of our stories, and it seems like something has gone drastically wrong. Sometimes our eyes have seen more than we can handle.
Sometimes all we need to hear is:
Don’t worry. There will be a happy ending.
Dear Christian, we must not lose sight. He’s got you.

Keep our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.
Hebrews 12.2

When it Rains

One of the differences here is how much you feel the effects of the weather. We just don’t have the protection from the elements like we did in the Midwest. When it’s cold outside, it’s cold inside. When it’s hot outside, it’s hot inside. When it rains, sometimes water (or mud) flows inside. When it doesn’t rain, you aren’t guaranteed water. After a long dry season, we started to hear about wells drying up in the area. So, we started praying for rain. And last weekend, the rains came! Our boys were delighted that the Lord didn’t just supply a drizzle, but a downpour! The dry ground soaked right in that much-needed rain. The grass turned green, our roses perked up, and out came the hallelujah bugs (any bug that is called “hallelujah” was most definitely given that name by an eternal optimist).

Listening to the downpour as I tucked in my boy and his cast, the thought came: when it rains, it pours.
The ground outside may have looked like dry season. But inside we have had showers of crazy unexpected circumstances since February (just 2 months after moving to Brazil). I’m talking HARD rains, people. Storms come. We all know that. I guess the real surprise has been what has accompanied these storms. You see…the harder it rains, the more our Lord continues to pour out His lovingkindness. He has been [and IS!] our Shelter and Protector from the storms and stuffs of this life!

Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rains He sends are an expression of His grace. [Joel 2.23, NLT]

I tend to despise the hard. I’d rather not have to walk through valleys of sickness and broken arms and hurtful words and broken hearts (for which there is no cast). But, these storms are showing me that sometimes the hard is exactly what I need to cling to the Hand of our gracious God.

Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for JOY. [James 1.2. NLT]

Wiktionary says “when it rains, it pours” means misfortunes never come alone. Perspective makes all the difference, doesn’t it. We can either believe troubles bring more troubles, OR troubles bring opportunities for more JOY. We can either focus on the storms, or all the ways He cares for us in the midst of the storm. To regain perspective, I often go here:

I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous loveAnd may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, through it is SO great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. [Ephesians 3.16-21]

When it rains, HE pours! If there’s one mystery I am seeking to understand, let it be how great is the love of Christ…in every circumstance, lavished upon us. THEN we will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God! THEN we can join the chorus of hallelujah bugs flying above it all.