Journeys of Faithfulness, ch. 12: Always a Happy Ending

journeys[box] Read chapter 12 of Journeys of Faithfulness. [/box] Don't you love happy endings?

The guy gets the girl. The hero overcomes his enemy. Relationships are restored. We breathe a sigh of relief that our inner sense of justice and rightness is satisfied.

Throughout this book, Sarah has introduced the idea that God is the author of the One Great Story, started in eternity past, with an ending in eternity yet to come. We are now in the middle of that story, in between Act III and Act IV. Amazingly, He weaves our ordinary little lives into this huge epic that He is writing, whether we are working through our mundane moments where no one sees what we are doing or whether we are on the stage with the spotlight shining on us.

This concept of our lives as part of God's epic story has really captured my heart and is slowly begin to reshape my vision of how I see not only my life but the life of others. For if this is true---and I think it is---then not only do we have a job to do, but I do not need to envy the roles the others around me play. As a mother, this has helped me to then look at my children not as an extension of myself, but as a part of God's great story…and to do all I can to help them to prepare for their role---even now.

In God's story, there are no bit parts or insignificant characters. All are important. I doubt Ruth knew what was in store for her future when she made her monumental decision to leave all she knew to follow her mother-in-law to a strange new land. I am sure she did not see herself as a heroine as she went out to glean in Boaz's fields each day.

But God was behind the scenes, orchestrating and prompting and acting and moving. He was the one that brought Naomi and her family to Moab. He was the one that connected their families, arranged her marriage, and set her in a happy home. He taught her about Himself and strengthened her faith. He also was the one that decided when to take Mahlon out of her life. He led her to Boaz's field. He cleared the way for Boaz to marry her. And through her faithfulness in responding to His direction, even when it was difficult, uncertain and tiring, God was able to use her little story to bless our lives now.

As we wrap up this book, I ponder at what this means for me. Right now, we are in the midst of a very challenging season with Anah. We are waiting for the day when it will get better. There doesn't seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. I sometimes wonder if there is any point to what we do every day with her as it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference. I don't know what Ruth was thinking, but maybe it was similar: Get up in the morning. Get dressed. Make breakfast for Naomi. Walk out to the fields. Pick up one grain of barley. Then another. And another. Fill my bag with grain. Bring it home. Help with dinner. Wash up. Go to sleep. Wake up in the morning to do it all again.

So it is with us today. I won't bore you with the details, but because of where Anah is at developmentally, things are pretty structured at our home. Even weekends aren't breaks for us, because any lapse throws her off. (Well, even if we don't have one, it still throws her off.) I often wonder what God is doing behind the scenes in our story. Sometimes I wonder if He is even there.

But I have to believe that even though He seems to be letting the camera run without any directions, He is watching me behind the lens. He may be silent, but He is present. I know I do that with my kids. I am in the background, watching them deliberate on whether to keep trying with that frustrating Lego or throw it down in despair. I don't always rush in to fix things. I do this to see what they would do when they need to make their own choices. Would they choose the high road or wallow in self pity, get angry, throw a fit?

In my own journey, I believe this is where God actually refines me. What am I going to do when I have to say the same thing for the 100th time in an hour? What am I going to do when I get the blank stare even though we've done it the same way for months on end? And every time I choose His way, He further cements His grace and character in me.

I'll have to admit that more often than not, I don't always make the right choice. But when I do, I am reminded that He is still writing my story. When I submit to the life that He has for me today, even if it is not one I would choose for myself, I am choosing in faith to believe that it will contribute to the happy ending He is writing for me. I don't know what it is. And even if I imagined it, I don't think I would do as good a job as He would.

One line in Sarah's devotional really resonated with me this week. She said, “God is the bringer of hope. He is the maker of happy endings.” Like Ruth, I do not know what the ending is going to look like. But it's going to be good. He can do no less.

And so, until that day comes, I will keep going, picking my grain (off our kitchen floors), doing my work, and waiting for my Bridegroom to come.

And one day, He will.

Discussion Questions:

  • How does knowing there is a happy ending change how you look at life?
  • Where do you place your hope---in your own changing dreams or in an unchangeable God? What will it look like in your life to place your hope in God alone?