Recently we were having movie night at the Post house and my 7-year-old got a little concerned. The cartoon we were watching took a turn and the main character found herself in a tight situation in a bit of trouble. My girl grabbed me by the arm and looked into my eyes and asked, “this does have a happy ending doesn’t it?” She was quitting right then and there if it was sad. She’s all about a happy ending and you better not waste her time and emotions if the story is going to end badly. I can relate to that. I hate an ending that leaves me hanging, or worse, crying. I hate putting in all that effort of wading through the tough parts if I’m not paid for my trouble with a good ending.
I recently read a book about a girl who made some really bad choices, but managed to redeem herself and get her life back together at the end of the book. I wondered if it would actually happen (and would have been upset if it happened). But it was, in fact, a happy ending. Especially after spending many chapters in the middle of the book watching the girl make devastating choices that were ruining her life and hurting the ones who loved her.
If you were to pick up that book and start reading about her life right in the middle, without finishing the story, you would have strong (and wrong) opinions about how her life would turn out. A book isn’t written in one chapter. One small chapter is just a part of the story. A book is many, many chapters compiled together to tell the whole tale. The whole story.
When reading a book, we don’t judge the whole story based on one chapter in the middle. And with life, we need to be careful as well. We should never judge someone’s story by the chapter we walk into today. Or the one they just closed the pages on. This chapter may be only a small part of a much grander and much more redemptive story.
In Mark 5 we read the account of a man possessed by a demon. At the beginning of the chapter we find that he had been like this for some time. Crazy. Living in cemeteries. Naked. Howling. Cutting himself. Unable to be restrained, even by chains. We walk into the middle of his life and it is not a pretty introduction.
These are the type of people that we tend to classify as “hopeless”. BUT!….But…..later in the chapter we find this man fully clothed. Sane. Sitting among others and able to function normally. The crazy part of his story was bad. But not the whole story. I’m glad I didn’t stop at his “crazy chapter” of life and finished reading. I liked the happy ending. What do you suppose made the difference for this man?
He met Jesus.
He had a real Come-To-Jesus meeting.
Don’t judge someone’s (or your own) “crazy chapter” as the final chapter. Still breathing? Then the story is still being written. And maybe, right in the middle of that really bad chapter, is when meeting Jesus will bring the happy ending that has been searched for all along.
With God, ALL things are possible.