Happily Ever After
Happily Ever After
(Please enjoy this encore edition of our prayer devotional, originally published in August 2017.)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
…and they all lived happily ever after. The End.
We are all familiar with these words, right? As children, the happy ending is drilled into us over and over again. Books, movies, and stories are all wrapped up in the final scene with a pretty bow.
Yet, life in our current fallen world is rarely like a fairy tale. We suffer countless trials. Some end better than we ever imagined. Others just keep us steadfast in the muck. The truth is some trials don’t end. The big, bad terrible thing doesn’t go away or get fixed. In fact, sometimes our circumstances get worse. Our lives are forever altered.
As Christians we can sometimes be quick to throw out clichés when a friend is in crisis. Many times they aren’t true or biblical. Have you heard (or maybe even said) some of these?
“What God allows, He redeems.” If you look at the scriptures, redemption often comes after many, many years. Sometimes it’s not until future generations. Many times the person suffering didn’t get to witness the redemption.
“God won’t give you more than you can handle.” This one makes me cringe. He may actually allow more than you can handle. In fact, our trials often make us more dependent on God.
“Your obedience will be blessed.” What does that even mean? If I follow a prompting of God, my life will be good? No. The Bible doesn’t tell us that life will be easy or good because we are followers of Jesus. In fact, story after story in the Bible illustrates quite the opposite.
May I gently suggest that life is messy? That’s biblical. Jesus told us we WILL have trouble. We live in a world stained by sin. Bad things will happen. We long for the fairy tale because we were created for eternal perfection, but when sin entered the world, everything changed. The truth is that this side of eternity, we aren’t guaranteed a happy ending. Sometimes it just is what it is. We honestly won’t know why until we are face to face with Jesus and finally have our happily ever after.
So, what is the better response to a friend in crisis? It’s simple, just show up and give love.
“I’m here for you.”
“This is hard.”
“I’m sorry you’re going through this.”
“I love you.”
Jesus himself told us that love is the most important thing. LOVE the Lord your God and LOVE your neighbor as yourself. We often can’t fix anything but we can always love.
Lord, our prayer is simple: that they will know us by our love. Amen.
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