Anyone who knows me knows I love a happy ending. I watch television and movies to escape from reality. I love the chance to see how problems are solved and people’s lives are improved over the course of an hour or two.
I remember the first time I watched Mrs Doubtfire. I laughed, I cried, I envisioned the happy ending, and then I ended the viewing feeling utterly beat down. How could the producers end a movie that way? Where was the happy ending they had been building up to for the whole film? I remember feeling heart broken for this made up family because things didn’t go the way I expected that they would… the way that I thought was “right.”
It was a harsh realization the day that I realized that our stories don’t always have a happy ending:
- Sometimes marriages end in divorce when one partner doesn’t want it to
- Sometimes the longed for pregnancy ends before it really has time to start
- Sometimes cancer kills the ones we love
- Sometimes jobs are lost and we face financial struggles we didn’t see coming
- Sometimes the love we have been seeking our whole life never comes
- Sometimes children don’t get to grow up with a mom and a dad
- Sometimes children end up torn between two homes
- And sometimes our every hope can be shattered in an instant.
The summer Ben died I did a study on the book of Job. After I lost him, I kept studying and found myself angry at moments. Job lost everything, but still trusted God. I understood how he could keep trusting God, but what I didn’t understand was the end of the story. In the end it says, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years.” (Job 42:12-17)
I remember asking another widow at the time, how is it possible for God to bless the latter half of his life more than the beginning? He LOST his family and no matter what he got back it couldn’t replace what was lost. I didn’t understand. No amount of new children, cattle and money could replace those who he lost.
I may never know the answer as to why we lost Ben. But friend, life is full of unexpected twists, turns, roadblocks, and heartaches. We have the choice to either let those heartaches beat us down and destroy us or to beat down the gates of heaven praying that God will allow us to push through to find a greater blessing on the other side.
Things don’t always go the way we anticipate or expect that they will, but God is still good and God is still on the throne. I believe that His way is sovereign and that all things work together for good even when we can’t see the good.
The last chapter in Job begins with this: “Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do all things, no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:1-3).
It’s still hard for me to understand how God can bless the latter part of my life more than the first. How can He give me more than I can even imagine after all that has been lost? But I trust that God has things in store that I can’t even understand… things that are too wonderful for me to even know. And I intend to hope and believe that the day will come when I can look back and say that I am grateful for all that we have been through and all that God has given me as I keep moving forward!
In the meantime, I’m just going to keep choosing joy!