Most children’s bedtime stories have a happy ending. But they’re just stories. What about real life? Eventually, I do believe things all work out for good. Just not necessarily per our script. ◊
We read that “they lived happily ever after” in all the children story books. Can’t have it any other way. Why expose these little minds to sad thoughts and events at such a vulnerable time as bedtime, or any other time for that matter? There will be time enough when the real world will confront them and expose them to hurt and pain and darkness and even death.
But in real life, is there really a chance for living ever-after in happiness, joy, love, and peace? Do the good guys always win? What about God? Does God’s way always prevail?
In the long-run, yes. In the short-term, not necessarily.
Even throughout a lifetime, things do not always turn out as planned. Nor are things always as they appear. No, not all things play out before us to our liking, hopes, dreams, or expectations. Even in the Bible there are many lives left wondering if it really is going to turn out as expected. Or they can’t fathom what’s going to happen in the future.
- Abraham never saw the multiplied promised descendants beyond Isaac’s sons, Esau and Jacob (Israel).
- Joseph never could imagine that his father, Jacob, and 11 brothers and family of 70 happily moving to Egypt would 400 years later become hundreds of thousands in captive slavery.
- Moses never got to experience the venture into the land of Canaan with all the Hebrew people he led out of Egypt.
- Joshua could never imagine how quickly the Israelites would turn away from God after he died.
- Ruth, nor her husband Boaz, never knew their son Obed would be the grandfather of King David.
- David dies without ever seeing the completion of the Temple in Jerusalem built by his son, Solomon.
- King Josiah never knew that his godly actions postponed the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
- Nehemiah never realized the role he would play in rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem 900 miles away when he first asked his boss, King Artaxerxes of Persia, if he could assist his Jewish brethren.
- John the Baptist never saw the full extent of the Kingdom of God ushered in by his cousin, Jesus, the Messiah.
- Peter never figured his greatest failure in denying Christ would one day stand in stark contrast to a life devoted to Christ unto death.
- Paul never knew his own instructional writings about Christianity for the early sprouting church would someday be captured as canonical scripture referred to as the New Testament.
In all the cases above, things eventually worked out pretty well. Eventually is the operative word. Yes, there was pain, loss, death, destruction, waywardness, and missed opportunity along the way. However, ultimately things worked out toward the fulfillment of God’s long-term purposes.
What About Us?
Actually, what about us? Who are we to mess with what God wants to do with us, through us, and around us? God has a long-term view, purpose, and game plan, way beyond what we can assume and understand. Like in a multi-layered chess game, God is 40+ moves ahead of us and working it at multiple dimensions.
When you look at it that way, we may as well see ourselves as humble pawns and allow the Chess Master to have His way with us. With an ‘I surrender to You, God’ approach to life, we assure ourselves a part on the winning team in a game that’s actually rigged in our favor, God’s favor.
And that’s a good thing. A very good thing. Perhaps captured, lost, and even destroyed in the short-term battle, we are destined to be a winner in the long-term war.
God Doesn’t Lose
No, God does not lose. He wins in the end. And there are many amazing winning skirmishes throughout human history and its future until the closing of this epic human era. But ultimately, there will be a very happy ending to a dark and dirty game gone awry due to our own rule adjustments.
God created the players and the game of life and outlined fairly straight-forward instructions. He gives us all free will and a choice to play the life game any way we wish. That’s true love – freedom fully granted with easy evidence all around us to show us how to do it well and live with joy, peace, love, and happiness.
But it’s our call. To live this temporal life our way or God’s way with associated consequences.
We each can have that winning life. Even in rough and difficult circumstances that aren’t pleasant or even fair. And like a lot of good characters in the Bible and throughout history, sometimes even without us seeing things play out well or close to how we would imagine.
But’s it’s a happy ending nonetheless, with the good guys living happily forever after.
Are you playing the game well?
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14