Friday, October 23, 2009

Happily Ever After

In this age of soap operas and sequels, we are, as a culture, addicted to what comes next?

I know I am. I want to know the rest of the story, as dear old Paul Harvey put it. No wonder he had such a successful career. Of course people are going to tune in – we must know what happens in the end.

Wait… do you read the last page of a novel first?? Shame on you. I’m not that bad.

However, as my Daniel can testify, I will stay up until the wee, wee hours of the morning, finishing a novel… or (pardon me as I clear my throat) series of novels… just so that I can get to that last page. Once I’m hooked, I’m consumed.

The endings, then, are just as if not more important than the beginnings. Sure, the beginnings suck you in, but if the ending fails, watch out! You mean I just spent all that time reading, obsessed, involved, teetering on the brink of hysteria not knowing what’s gonna happen, and THAT’S IT??? Even donating two hours of my life to a movie with a terrible ending makes me want to spit venom! (Wouldn’t that be a cool super power? Ah… but I digress…)

In some respect, Happily Ever After, then, seems like a cop-out, an easy way to wrap things up and put a stop to a story that obviously continues.

But I don’t believe that. I think it’s a perfect phrase and tells a lot more than it conceals.

Happily Ever After is a statement of faith. Whoever penned these tales may or may not know what happens next, but as the audience we do not get to find out. All we know, and must accept by faith, is that the Hero and His bride live happily (I assume that means without peril) ever after (a.k.a. forever).

We can employ our imaginations and a fair bit of logic to guess that whatever does happen is pretty awesome. I mean, a palace, an enchanted land, a relationship between Lovers undivided by danger or evil…

Hold on… (time to smile…)

That sounds like what the Bible says is my happily ever after!

Are you one of those people who, even though you’d never admit it to anyone, thinks Heaven is going to be boring? Every time Heaven comes up at church, do you sigh and try to suppress the thought that an eternal church service in the sky doesn’t sound all that appealing, but it’s better than a fiery seat in hell, so…

I confess… I was one of those people too.

But a couple of things changed my perspective.

First, I discovered through reading (among other things, Randy Alcorn’s Heaven), that the eternal-church-service-in-the-sky visual is a terrible lie from the devil! It’s been perpetuated through history, cultures, liars and the like to lead us astray from the truth, which is that Heaven will be nothing like our pea-brain imaginations can fathom.

Second, I’ve been on a slow, steady, amazing journey that’s led me to fall more and more in love with Jesus, to the point that however Heaven turns out to be is fine by me. But knowing Him more just perpetuates the excitement because He’s so amazing that His home would be no less than amazing too.

How dare me think of it from my point of view! Haha. It’s almost comical now.

But I think I, and possible some of you too, fall into the what happens next pit to the extent that since the Bible pretty much gives us the happily ever after line, I have to make up the rest of the story. Jesus, my Perfect Lover, is saying, “Trust me. It’s gonna rock your socks off!”

I forget, though, especially on cloudy days, or when the present battle inflicts ghastly and painful wounds, or when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

So I surround myself with reminders. One way I do that, one way that helps me picture in my mind’s eye the villain I’m fighting, the kingdom I’m heading for, the Hero right there beside me, is to read. Stories about unconditional love, unyielding commitment, timely rescue, sacrificial protection and absolute provision inspire me to think on my Perfect Lover, Jesus.

Monday, I’ll start a series here on Dry Ground going into some detail concerning a story in which I found these traits. It’s not the first saga you’d think of for this kind of study, in fact many might refuse to believe anything redemptive could come from such a source. Hopefully, though, you’ll join me in my musings as I share my thoughts on…

The Perfect Lover – How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus.

See you then!

Have a wonderful weekend!


lynnrush said...

I love it when you said, "Heaven will be nothing like our pea-brain imaginations can fathom"

SO TRUE. I've never thought of heaven as boring, I kinda figured I'd be too happy to really care what was going on around me, but then again, when you said what you said up there. . . it made me laugh because it's true.

We can have our little theories and stuff, but ultimately, you're right, we can't even begin to phathom what God has in store for us :-)

KM Wilsher said...

Lori. I got chills and tears! I can't wait to take this journey.

John Eldridge "The Sacred Romance" helped me see this journey differently, but I think your VAMP series will help me jump in!

See you then -- for the rest of the story :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Lori,

Love reading your blog. Great stuff! Kylie Joy enjoyed the "Ever After" video. Enchanted is her favorite movie and she is sick today, so it brought her some smiles. Thank you! Can't wait for the vampire series.