Happy Endings

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and End.  —Revelation 22:13 NIV

“Mom, you’re not reading the ending of that book first, are you?” my daughter asked me one day while I was reading.

“Yes, I am,” I said. “I want to make sure the ending is to my liking. This way I don’t waste time reading something that doesn’t have a happy ending.”

A voracious reader since I could open a book, I can’t remember when I started checking out story endings first. But as an adult, I read the first chapters, and, if the book holds my attention and I just can’t stand the suspense—which is most of the time—I flip to the back and skim the last few pages. I find out if the heroine gets the man she loves, who the villain is, and if the story has a happy conclusion.

Many times I’ve started a book but haven’t finished it because I didn’t like the way it ended. While I can take bittersweet endings, I dislike sad ones. There’s enough trouble in the world. I read to escape from the ugliness of humanity, the dire headlines, the bad news that bombards me all day long.

Even worse than sad endings, though, are “open” endings, where the reader decides how a story concludes. How wishy-washy! I need to feel a sense of closure that the story has come to full circle and is complete. An open ending isn’t really an ending; rather, it’s just a gaping hole where the reader is never satisfied—at least this reader.

Not that I live with my head in the sand or the clouds, and I certainly don’t live a storybook, fairytale life. I’ve got problems too. Reading is my oasis in this desert of bad news. Just for a little while, I can forget the headlines, the heartaches, the dishes, and the dust and immerse myself in something I know will end happily.

There’s another Book I enjoy reading with an ending that fulfills all my expectations, gives me hope, and satisfies my soul: the Bible, God’s Word. Reading it, however, is not an escape from ugly humanity. Instead, I see humanity at its worst. I also see in its time-tested lines the love of the Writer for the ones who rebelled and caused Him and the world so much grief. In the chapter on Calvary, I see God at His best.

But the story doesn’t end at Calvary, or on the first Easter, or on Ascension Day or Pentecost. It doesn’t end with the killing of Stephen or the martyrdom of those first believers. It continues for centuries that stretch into millennia.

And it isn’t a mystery. Rather, the Bible is a love story of a great and merciful God for His sinful, rebellious, obnoxious, selfish, stubborn creation. Penned throughout the saga of mankind are definite clues how this tale will end: The heroine gets the One she loves, the villain is defeated and banished forever, and those who trust in the One who came to save them live happily ever after.

Thank You, Lord, for showing me who the winners are in the drama of man. Thank You for revealing the ending so I may find satisfaction and fulfillment in my life’s story. Amen.

Read and reflect on Revelation 21 & 22.

From God, Me,& a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, (c) 2017 Michele Huey.

The Road to Nowhere

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 NIV

Over 80 years ago private landowners in Swain County, North Carolina, were forced to give up their property, which had been in their families for generations, when the government created the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Entire communities had to relocate. Access to ancestral burial grounds was lost when the Fontana Dam was built and the route was submerged beneath the waters of a vast manmade lake.

To appease the people, the government promised to build a road through the park that would give them access to the ancient cemeteries. And so construction on Lakeview Drive began—and halted six miles into the park when environmental issues arose. The promised road ended with a tunnel and has remained that way to this day.

Although eventually the environmental issues were resolved and the feds paid the county $52 million in lieu of finishing the road, the locals, feeling betrayed, renamed Lakeview Drive to “The Road to Nowhere.” A sign was erected: “Welcome to The Road to Nowhere. A Broken Promise. 1943 – ?”

DH and I visited The Road to Nowhere during a camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Parka few years ago, and we walked through the dank, dark tunnel. True, the paved road ended when we emerged on the other side, but I wouldn’t call it “nowhere.” Golden trees framed hiking trails winding through the mountains. True, this wasn’t what was promised, but it is what it is.

Life can be like that. Sometimes the road we’re on doesn’t lead us to where we expect or where we want to go. Sometimes we run into a dead end. Broken promises break our hearts and our trust. We can’t see how we can go on.

But it doesn’t lead to nowhere. All roads lead to somewhere. Just sometimes not where we’d chosen.

The older I get, the more I understand the wisdom of accepting and adapting. And moving on.

I’m not saying it’s easy—giving up those dreams, rebuilding your life after hope has been shattered.

But it can be done—with guts, gumption, grit—and God.

You see, I believe in a God who can transform what’s bad in your life into something good, what’s broken into something usable. A God who can turn your weakness into His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9) and loves you far beyond what you can comprehend (Romans 8:35–39).

He’s always in your corner (Romans 8:31) and wants to bless you exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He’s a faithful Father who showers you with fresh mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:23) and who doesn’t break promises (2 Timothy 2:13).

So, dear child of God, “do not fear. Do not let not your hands grow weak. The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives great victory. He will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on the day of a festival” (Zephaniah 3:16–17)

Remember that it’s God who’s in control, no matter what road you find yourself on.

Remind me, Lord, as I walk this uncertain road called life, that every road I walk with You will lead to somewhere wonderful. Amen.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.