I recently finished a best selling novel. It was over 1,000 pages, epic in size and story, and consumed me for weeks. A respected acquaintance recommended it, and once committed, I stuck with it to the end … in spite of wanting to quit, often.
By the end of the first chapter, I realized it wasn’t going to be an easy read. The story was set in the middle ages, with uncomfortably real sections. Perhaps I’m a bit sheltered, but it seemed to contain unnecessarily graphic descriptions. Skimming over the uncomfortable spots, I kept reading.
The book ended well, but there were times when I was ready to close the cover, and move on to something happier. The antagonists were just too mean. The plot too painful. The abuse, greed and vindictiveness too ugly to dwell on.
If that book ended badly, I would have been disgruntled at spending weeks of my life on it. On the other hand, I would have been frustrated to quit before finishing.
If I had quit reading at page 245, the story would have seemed hopeless. I might have thought the villains won, or the hero and heroine never reconnected. If I had read a bit further, to say page 576, the story would have ended with justice as an impossible dream, and hatred and revenge as unavoidable and all-consuming parts of life.
But now, after reading the book in its entirety, I can see the amazing story. The plot progressed steadily; there was tension, conflict and eventually resolution. Good did triumph, although not without many bumps along the way.
It got me thinking that our lives are a bit like that. For those of us who have accepted Christ as our Saviour and Lord, we will have a happy ending in heaven with God. One way or another, our story will end well. But not every page or chapter in our story is happy.
Today might be page 452 for you. And on page 452 there is conflict and tension. Last year might have been chapter nine. And in chapter nine, the protagonists struggle financially, and wonder why God allowed such pain into their lives. If you only read one page or chapter, you would have a very different view of the story.
Yet the Author of my story and your story has a purpose for every page and chapter in our lives. He’s got a story in mind and is building and developing the plot every day. No story is conflict-free. No story is complete without a challenge. Victory is empty without a struggle.
Friend, today is not the whole of your story. It’s just page 452. So you press on, trusting in a loving and creative Author to bring about resolution. The victory will be sweeter because of the struggle. You see, you and I already know the ending – we live happily ever after.
Psalm 139:1: … your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 107:2: Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story – those he redeemed from the hand of the foe …
Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.