Several generations back, people had a strong conviction that this life was naturally filled with problems and struggles. Not that there would be no happiness or joy but rather there would also be considerable suffering and pain.
In the last part of the 20th century those of us in the United States had begun to believe that it was possible to live the “good life” now. Somehow we believed that we had found the key to a fairytale-like existence in our little corner of the world. If we just had a better education, a better paying job, more respect from those around us, a bigger house, boat, or car, better looks or more intelligence, etc., etc., we could claim the “good life”. Our generation appeared to have found the path to the easy life, but the major problem that emerged from this belief was disillusionment, discouragement and even despair for many when life didn’t cooperate. If life on easy street was possible and we didn’t have it, there must be something wrong with us.
My friend, your life can include a fairytale-like ending. Consider this quote from the Bible in Revelations 21:3 & 4, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
If we are to have this “happily ever after” ending we must be careful not to put the cart before the horse. By this I mean that the lead characters in fairytales have difficult struggles the first part of their life which they endured, and then, unbeknown to them, they had the happy ending.
Likewise, Christians will have problems and a certain amount of suffering in this life (the first part of their existence) but if they trust wholeheartedly in the Lord they will experience the “happily ever after “part in the next life. The Bible is clear that we must accept this life as it is, with the troubles, challenges, unanswered questions and joy, realizing that the Lord is conditioning us to deal more effectively with this life today and is preparing us for a better tomorrow. One huge advantage the Christian has is the knowledge that despite the problems and hardships of this life, we will win in the end; we will inherit a paradise beyond measure and time.
Consider a quote by C.S. Lewis, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
For those of us who know the Cinderella story, we suffered with her as she struggled against injustice and the prejudice of her family during the first phase of her life. We were angry at the way she was treated and we would have liked to step in and helped, but by intruding we may have short circuited the reason for the harsh treatment, the mellowing and character building process we admired and respected in her. As one writer put it “what a caterpillar calls the end of the world, God calls a butterfly”.
Christians have a distinct advantage over Cinderella. We have a God who is infinitely better than a fairy Godmother. That is, He is more powerful, intelligent, and full of goodness and love, with unlimited resources that He wishes to share this with us.
So what is the conclusion of the matter? If we will walk beside the Lord, especially when we don’t understand the curves that life throws at us, and surrender daily to His Spirit’s leading and reassurance, while accepting and adjusting to whatever life my dish out, death will transport us to a land beyond our wildest dreams. The King of this universe has promised us, in writing, that some day it will be worth it all, and we will have a “happily ever after” ending that will defy our greatest desires and imaginings