Happy Endings

It took a month. A month, maybe longer, of hard work translating a story from Russian to English. The story was about a single mom with a young boy who became friends with a new neighbor. The neighbor was like a father to the boy. One day the neighbor went to work as a pilot. He suddenly encountered trouble while over the boy’s school. He crashed and died. The end.

I was so mad! Why did my tutor have me translate this awful story about the neighbor who died in a fiery crash? She looked at me and told me, “You Americans always want a happy ending. Life is not like that.”

I think the Apostle Paul would agree. And disagree.

Paul once wrote, … I am on my way to Jerusalem, compelled by the Spirit, not knowing what I will encounter there, except that in every town the Holy Spirit warns me that chains and afflictions are waiting for me. (Acts 20:22-23, CSB)

Paul was on his way to Jerusalem in obedience to God, even though affliction was awaiting him. But Paul didn’t worry about the trouble ahead. He knew from the beginning of his walk with the Lord that he would encounter problems. Shortly after his conversion, the Lord sent Ananias to show him how much he must suffer for my name. (Acts 9:16, NIV)

Paul knew there wouldn’t always be happy endings.
 
Still, Paul was resolute. He stated, I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24, CSB)

How was Paul able to consider his life of “no value?” Simply this: his desire was to know Jesus, and he looked beyond this life to the next.

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ …

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death...

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:8,10,14, NIV)

You see, there is always a happy ending for those who believe in Jesus Christ. That ending is in Heaven with Him.

If you’re struggling with the troubles of life, turn your eyes on Jesus, spend time with Him, and remember His words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

By LaRaine Rice

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