December 14, 2006

Happy Endings

Exodus 14:26-30, Luke 24:49-53 & Revelation 21:1-4

Imagine a world without happy endings. No transformation of frog to prince. No magical kiss to awaken a spell-induced slumber. No grand slam home run at the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. No last second swish at the NBA Finals with the game on the line. The bad guy makes off with the girl and the loot. Dorothy doesn’t get to go home to Kansas. At the end of It’s A Wonderful Life, George Bailey commits suicide. And, Darth Vader crushes the rebel alliance and controls the universe. After all, life is meaningless, right?

The happy ending is timeless because at heart we are the good guys. There’s an eternal appeal about the hero overcoming obstacles and love conquering all. Unlike life, these stories resolve themselves with triumphant endings and all that is left is a still life of a relationship. And then the credits roll and we leave the cinema to face the problems we checked in at the door. We close the book and there’s the garbage that needs taking out.

And yet, we feel that there’s more to life than just living (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We search high and low, near and far for that elusive happiness. Drugs. Sex. Achievement. Fame. Self-esteem improvement. Money. Education. Yet, nothing can fill that hole of unfulfillment. In a way, we go on wandering and searching for that happy ending.

The good news is that life doesn’t have to be this way. There is a Hero who took on the weight of the world and overcame it (John 16:33). You’d like this Hero because He serves others rather than Himself, helps those whom others have ignored, and by His death allows you to be resurrected from a dark life. Of course, I'm talking about Jesus Christ, who is your advocate in Heaven and approaches God the Father on your behalf (1 John 2:1). All you have to do is accept Jesus as the Lord of your life. To be sure, your new life will have storms, and some may even rattle you to the core, but Jesus will not abandon you nor forsake you.

But, in order to understand why Jesus had to die, you have to understand how we live. Go back to the Fall to see why Adam and Eve lost fellowship with God (Genesis 3:1-6). Go back to the Flood to see why Noah built the ark (Genesis 6:11-13). Go back to Moriah to understand why God tests men’s hearts (Genesis 22:12). Go back to Egypt to see why Israel needed a deliverer (Exodus 3:7-8). Go to the rugged, old Cross and try to fathom the depths of God’s love (John 3:16).

The happy ending is timeless because at heart that’s how we’d like for our life to end. Those who sour their faces at happy endings have that attitude because they’ve been let down one too many times. They sneer, That’s not real life! Of course, it’s not real life because Christ isn’t in the story, your story. Once you allow God into your life, you are no longer a slave to sin and its consequences (Romans 6:23). What a wondering ending to be truly joyful about!

I invite you to walk with Christ. Accept him as your Lord and Savior and see the difference He will make in your life. Like the Hebrews crossing the Red Sea, like the disciples seeing Jesus one last time before the Ascension, like the Christians whose hope is in the New Jerusalem, you will see that happy endings are possible. Not only that, in them, there is the promise of new beginnings. And that’s something to cheer about.

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