Authentic Christianity, Faith, Leadership, perseverance, Spiritual Life

Your Story Is Not Over Yet

How to Find Your Happy Ending

What if the movie Rudy would have ended before he played in that final game? Our last image of him would not be of a courageous victor, but rather a bruised and defeated failure. It wasn’t that Rudy was the greatest athlete that makes his story so inspiring. It’s that he finds a way to keep his dream alive when it seems no one else could. His triumph was not in his success, but in his ability to never give up.

That kind of fortitude is hard to conjure up in our own setbacks. It’s like Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Redefining the Valley

When you find yourself in the valley, it is much easier to just accept the possibility that the best parts of your story have already ended. The peaks never seem further away. The shadows appear to linger so much longer. There is another way to view the valley though. You can see you valley as your lowest point, which might be true, or you can also see it as the halfway point to your next mountaintop. Maybe your happy ending is not in this chapter of life, but will be found in the next.

Whether it is a relationship that did not pan out as you had envisioned, a dream that seems to be delayed, or unfair circumstances, this life provides many opportunities to end our story before the desired conclusion appears. There will always be seasons we wish we could erase from the pages of life. Unfortunately, there is no whiteout for regrets. The good news is our happy ending is not based on our present circumstances, but on how we respond in those situations. You are not the first one to experience difficulty or find yourself at a dead end. Anyone who ever dared greatly, dreamed wildly, or attempted courageously, have all found themselves at those same crossroads.

In the Bible we get the luxury of knowing how each story ends. As a result, we can sometimes overlook being in the dark hours with some of these heroes of faith. In those moments they did not know if God would come through for them or not. There were no guarantees their stories would conclude with a happy ending.

Aren’t you glad it didn’t end when:

…Moses fled from Egypt in fear and defeat, but rather when he returned in faith as a deliverer.

…the flood waters of judgment fell around Noah, but rather when the rainbow of forgiveness rose above him.

…Abraham doubted God’s ability because of his own limitations, but rather when God did what was not in Abraham’s ability because of HIS promises.

…Joseph was cast into a pit, chased from Potiphar’s house, or chained in prison, but rather when he was put in charge in the palace.

…twelve spies were discouraged by their obstacles around them, but rather when Joshua and twelve tribes were encouraged by their opportunity before them.

…death gained access to man through the disobedience of Adam, but rather when man gained access to life through the obedience of Jesus.

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”

Orson Welles

Keep Writing Your Story

We must be careful not to stop our own stories prematurely. Comparing ourselves to others can cause us to quit because we do not get context when we focus on others. We don’t know what storms their ship just came out of or may soon enter. The best thing to do is to keep sailing, and hold on to our anchor of hope, Jesus. He is,after all, the author and the finisher of our faith.

When we focus on the pain left by people in our past, instead of the healing we can bring to others through Jesus, we become a supporting character in someone else’s saga. Turn down the cameo role of the person who falls victim to their circumstances. Be determined to assume the lead in your own story of redemption and healing.

The doubt we have in our most trying hours will one day turn to awe and wonder if we continue to trust the One who has the final say on how our story ends.

This is a repost of a past blog I have written and also shared at youthministry.com and other sites. I thought it would be something good to post as we go into Holy Week.

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