All fairy tales follow a similar plot. The central character isn’t happy with the current circumstances – Cinderella wants to go to the ball, Pinocchio wants to be a real boy, Ariel wants legs, and Goldilocks…she’s the worst! Everything is too hot, too cold, too hard, or too soft. In fairy tales, a hero saves the day and provides the deepest desires of the main character’s heart, and yup, they live “happily ever after.”
Any idea why these are called “tales?” Stories are the only place this chain of events is possible. However, we live each day as though it is possible to achieve. We live as though we can only be content when we achieve “happily ever after” status.
Recently, I asked a couple of questions in our support group, “What one word describes where you are right now? What one word describes where you want to be? How do you plan to get there?” After reading the responses, and thinking about my own responses, I wondered, “Then, what?” After we get where we want to be, “Then, what?” We live “happily ever after?” Nope. We will face more trials, more struggles, and more heartache.
Does that mean we should never strategize, never strive for better circumstances, or that we should stop hoping for redemption for what we have gone through? No, absolutely not. However, let me give you a couple things to think about.
- There will always be trials in this life. We will never be in a state of “perfect” in this world. We need to learn how to go from just surviving to thriving – in the midst of it. I’m not talking about wallowing in your grief or creating a victim of yourself. I’m talking about learning to take those hard times, use God’s strength to attack them head-on, and then, reflect His glory to those around you. No one expects that a Christian will have a perfect life. They just expect to see you live it differently. We all have burdens. We all have a story to share – of our past, present, and even anticipated future events.
Just this past week, I have been trying to keep moving through horrific spinal pain, an unexpected infection, poison ivy – head to toe, and several other “minor” issues. Sometimes, it just feels like everything goes wrong, but if you are a child of the King, it is all right. “Good for you” doesn’t always feel good.
Take stock of what you do have, and be thankful for it. We all have much more than we actually need. God has blessed us immensely, even in the midst of trials.
But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:8
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
- Our goal should always be to become more like Christ. Anything that furthers that outcome should certainly be pursued. However, in during the pursuit of this objective, we must find contentment in the immediate place God has put us. Maybe it is a place of pain, of hurt, of frustration, of loss, of being uncomfortable. These things all work together to bring us to God’s desired place in the end. Each circumstance that we face is necessary for the molding process. Each hurt and each heartbreak is essential for our good and for God’s glory. If we cannot learn how to be content in whatever state we find ourselves, we will miss many of the lessons and the blessings that God has for us.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11b
(Take a moment to listen to Evelyn Christenson’s testimony: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/facing-lifes-final-season-remembering-evelyn-chris/)
- This world is not our home. The struggles and heartaches of this life should leave us longing for more, for something better, but not something of this world. We should be yearning for our eternal home – “happily ever after.” All of the difficulties in this life will ultimately be redeemed in eternity. The pain of this world should allow us to discern truth and find eternal joy.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Don’t wait for “happily ever after” to find joy. Use “happily ever after” as a reason to be joyful.
Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2014. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp6108-09-14