I recently watched an episode of a popular tv show and, when it ended, every problem presented throughout the episode was solved. It ended with everyone hugging, smiling and crying for joy over accepted solutions and reconciliation.
As I watched the ending scene (it lasted about three minutes) I thought about the “happy ending” notion. Is it real or is it a fairy tale? A utopia created by Hollywood to give viewers a false sense of hope in the reality of a broken world? And so, I said to myself: I believe in happy endings.
As a child, I believed in happy endings because I wanted the fairy tales to be a reflection of reality and my hope was that life could end the same way it ends in movies. However, my belief in happy endings today isn’t based on the movies. Rather it is based on the perfection God promised us to have in His Kingdom for all eternity. There is indeed a true “utopia” awaiting followers of Jesus where there will be no pain, sadness, conflict or any other negative thing that we struggle with. When time ends and eternity begins, it will be a glorious joy that we will never be able to fully imagine or conceive in our minds while on earth.
So yes, I believe in happy endings. This truth has been my hope and helps me to go through the ever-changing journey called life.
A couple of months ago, I returned home from my first two-year commitment with OM. The re-entry process was harder than I expected, though I’m fully enjoying being with family and friends and being in my home culture. Eating all my favourite foods, hanging out at my usual spots and exploring new places is exciting and relaxing.
However, the parts that are difficult for me to process mentally are: infrastructural changes that make me feel like a foreigner in my own town, family dynamics that I missed out on, friend dynamics that make me feel like their lives are moving forward while mine is standing still and personal feelings of not being sure where I fit in anymore.
This all took a greater toll on me than I anticipated. Feelings of ‘happy to be home’ and yet ‘is this my home?’ bombarded my stream of thoughts daily. Being home no longer felt familiar but very unfamiliar and made me wonder how I will continue to navigate a life of entry and re-entry.
As I spend time with friends, a lot of talks about home ownership, safe places to live, raising a family and travelling, wise financial planning and lucrative career paths came up. While I tried to contribute to these topics, in my mind I thought: I can no longer relate to these things the way they do.
Yes, I’m in the awkward, overwhelming season of learning to say hello and goodbye constantly. I’m learning to settle in and make my home wherever I am, though, by the time I figure it out, it might be time to leave again. Yes, this season is a lot for me but my hope in a “happy ending” keeps me going and keeps me focused on my purpose and the mission at hand.
“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” – 2 Peter 3:13 (NIV)
Many people working on the missions field making disciples are burdened with the complexities of darkness. Disappointment when we can’t see lives being transformed, frustration with systemic social ills like human trafficking and aching for believers who are constantly persecuted and killed for their faith overwhelms us. Coupled with this are personal challenges whether it be health, financial or relational issues that also put our faith to the test. Our trust in God is tested time and time again and when these issues arise they sometimes make us wonder: “Where is God? What is He doing?” Trudging through the battlefield called “time on earth” can indeed distract us from the hope we have in our blessed Saviour and the beautiful eternity that awaits us.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell 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.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:3-5 (NIV)
No matter what we go through on the field or in our personal lives, the truth that one day this will all end should give us joy during the sad days. It should give us the strength to not give up on the mission during the days when we feel weak and peace for the confusing days.
As I watched that tv show, I didn’t know how the episode would end until it came to the end. I may have had ideas, but I watched it with great uncertainty. As followers of Jesus, we don’t have to go through life with any measure of uncertainty. We have the assurance of salvation through Jesus Christ which means we can rest assured how our life will end or better yet, continue into eternity with Jesus.
So, we can believe in happy endings. An ending that begins in God’s Kingdom.
Ava, from the Caribbean, hates to write, but loves having written, therefore she is compelled to write and be God’s voice of power through the written word. She loves to plan for the future, while reminiscing on the past, over a hot cup of tea and a delicious meal.