We all love a happy ending. We love the sweet stories of reconciliation in a family, the birth of a child after infertility, or the success of someone who deserved it. We want to hope for good things to happen to others because that means good things will happen to us. Right? Wrong. The truth is that our culture is great about proliferating media with happy endings – the lost dog gets found, the surgery goes successfully, the guy gets the girl and they live happily ever after. But these are just a few, select stories, they aren’t every story. For every story out there with a happy ending, there are those of us who haven’t found our happy ending yet. And we’re asking the question, “Where’s my happy ending?!”
Recently, I’ve been crying a lot in church. It’s painful and stressful to be in God’s house on Sunday mornings. I haven’t exactly been sure why except to say it’s difficult to watch people rejoice in the Lord when you are in pain, feeling alone, and thinking you have no hope. I’ve been sitting in church watching story after story of the Lord working in someone else’s life. I’ve heard testaments of His faithfulness, His goodness, His restorative work. And all the while, I’m sitting there – feeling hopeless and wondering, “Where’s my happy ending?”
You see, I really don’t understand God’s work sometimes. For every woman out there who has a child after years of infertility, there’s a woman who’s still longing for children. For every cancer survivor, there’s a headstone of someone who didn’t beat the odds. For every joy, there’s also a pain. And I don’t understand why God allows some people to get happy endings while others have to say, “I haven’t gotten my happy ending yet and I don’t know that I ever will.”
The truth is though, that while popular books and movies all make us feel good with their happy endings, the Bible isn’t one to cater to our emotions. It’s full of stories that don’t have happy endings. Just take a look at the life of Jesus’ Disciples. John was the only one NOT to die a violent death. But just because their story on earth didn’t end happily doesn’t mean the WHOLE story doesn’t end happily.
Truths About God, Life and Pain
We may not get a happy ending in this life, but we are promised joy
Joy is not the same thing as happiness. Joy comes when you make peace with your life, yourself, or your circumstances. Happiness is an emotion based on the people or events happening around us. It’s easy not to be happy when things aren’t going right in your life. But you can have joy in those circumstances. You can make peace with what God is doing in your life and trust that He is working all things out “for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28]
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
We may not get a happy ending in this life, but we are not alone
Isaiah tells us that Jesus was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He knew the pain of loss as He wept at the grave of Lazarus. He knew the loneliness of life as He wandered and fasted in the desert. He knew what it was to be tempted by sin and Satan. Jesus knew pain. He also knew an unhappy ending. He died a violent, lonely death on the cross – betrayed by His friends, falsely accused by his enemies. But that wasn’t the end of the story…
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised and we held him in low esteem.
We may not get a happy ending in this life, but there is one to come
Billy Graham once said, “I’ve read the last page of the Bible, it’s all going to turn out all right.” Your story doesn’t end here on this earth. Jesus story didn’t. There is a grand finale ahead of us that we just can’t see yet. God is not absent. He is here among us. He sees the pain we are in. He sees the longing we have for a happy ending. And He IS working. He is reconciling all things to Himself. He is making peace through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1: 20
And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
So, you’ve been asking, “Where’s my happy ending?” You’re stuck in the pain and loss and disappointment of life. Your expectations for life have gone unmet and you feel disillusioned. You’re asking how what’s happening to you can be fair. Remember, the story isn’t over yet. Keep sojourning. Keep hoping. Keep trusting. Keep waiting for the happy ending that we as Christians ARE promised, not in this life but in the next.
While we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.