“I’ve discovered something Mommy!” Doodlebug was on his way back to bed with The Knight and the Dragon to read before he fell asleep. “Guess what?”
“Once upon a time only happens in fairy tales!”
Doodlebug is always discovering something and telling us about it. It’s one of the fun things about 5 year olds –the world is still new enough that they are discovering new things every day and love to share them enthusiastically with others. I was in the middle of getting everyone in bed for the night and chuckled to myself, but didn’t think much about it until I had a chance to lay down myself.
In a way he’s right. When you’re little you can dream of what your life’s going to be like. The culture of your country, the books you read, movies you see, what you learn at church or learn in the Bible all influence what you dream your “happily ever after” life is going to look like. Lately I’ve watched people in my life, and experienced it myself as an adult at times, that life isn’t like the once upon a time in fairy tales. No one dreams as a child “when I grow up I’m going to have a son that I watch slowly die from a rare disease” or “When I grow up I can’t wait to get married and then watch my husband lose his job and then we lose everything we own.” or “When I grow up I’m going to struggle with infertility and not be able to have children at all” or “When I grow up, fill in the blanks with your life disappointment here…”
We have these hopes and dreams when we are young and can’t imagine that our lives will walk through the valley of the shadow, that God would allow us to suffer such things, and yet He does. I don’t have the theological legs to know and debate if He causes these things or simply uses what happens in a fallen, sinful world. I do know that we have a choice to hope or not. We can, like Job’s wife suggested, curse God and die, run away from God in our misery and pain and shout “This is your fault!” and shake our hands at heaven. Or we can cry out to the Father, run into His arms and weep our tears into His shoulder while He weeps with us, and then walk along the Way, clinging to his arm, knowing all our hope comes only from Him.
Jesus says plainly, “In this life you will have trouble/trials/sorrows/tribulation” continues with “but take heart/be courageous/have confidence I have overcome the world!” That is where our hope comes from–not from the worldly dreams of a life of perfection with no problems or pains. Our hope comes from a daily walking with the Lord. He promises to walk beside us every step of the way, even sending the Comforter to live in us. You can’t get any closer to Him than that. He promised “MY peace I leave you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The world’s peace is always pursued and worked for, but never found or achieved. The Lord’s peace is freely given to those who ask in the midst of life’s most hopeless circumstances. The world’s peace looks at outward circumstances while the peace that Jesus gives remains regardless of your circumstance-wether you’re an Iranian Christian awaiting execution for your faith, or a mother whose young son dies for no good reason, or you lose all your possessions in a thousand-year flood, or you can’t find a job because of the economy and have to move in with your parents AGAIN, or even if you can’t find the right man to marry or you are betrayed by those who were supposed to support and stand with you. His peace is there in that moment because HE is there, and He is there because you are there.
So, what about that once-upon-a-time and happily-ever-after business? Do I believe it? With a twist of course. But it’s not a fairy tale. It’s truth. Once upon a time God sent His son to save us, and if we accept this free gift, we live eternally with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in an eternal life that starts right here on earth. Always happy? No, but with a joy and peace and love and hope that totally swallow up the fairy tale “happily ever after” the world tries to sell us.
This is a link to a video of “I Have Found” by Kim Walker. (I’d embed it so you could watch it here, but alas, I can’t get it to work). I love worshiping to this song! It talks about the joy, peace, and love we find in Jesus. If you like it, please support her ministry by purchasing it to put on your ipod or listen to from your computer.