Lines of Unhappily Ever After

Once upon a time I wanted to learn to play guitar.  Absconding my grandparents’ really old out-of-tune guitar, the one that no one is quite sure why they had since neither of them played, I sought an instructor.  Conveniently I asked the guy I had a crush on and one lesson presumed.  I was supposed to practice, but, well, it hurt.  Developing calluses takes time, and I just wanted to be able play pretty music.

Fast forward several months to when I started dating a really cute guitar player.  Wisely I married him.  Now on occasion, when our four kids actually go to bed on time, he sits around, strums and occasionally sings.  As for me, I sit nearby and read a book.  I get to hear beautiful guitar music and am perfectly fine with the fact that it is not flowing from my fingers.  After all, reading a book is a skill I have already developed.  Playing guitar requires hard work.

Over the past several months, I have watched several friends purposefully walk into situations that were challenging.  Ones that would probably not end the way that they hoped.  Yet despite the fact that only an unhappy ending was involved, they pressed on since they were doing what they felt God had called them to do.

I know that into every life tragedy can and often does happen.  After all, God did promise that rain would fall on both the godly and the wicked.  That is not the type of situation I am referencing.  Instead I am taking about purposefully attempting to triumph in a situation when you know in advance that success is not likely.  That failure is imminent.  That to me is a whole other level of courage.

If we need an example of people choosing to follow God through hard situations, we need to look no further than the Old Testament prophets.  Having to lay on your side for a designated number of days?  Marrying a woman of ill-repute knowing that she will probably not change her lifestyle?  Rewrite the scroll, the one that took you months to transcribe, because the king had decided to rip up the first message into tiny pieces because he did not like what it said?  These men seemed to embrace the calling that God had for them even though they knew that each situation was probably not going to end well.

As I think about my friends, I ponder my own faith.  Am I willing to step out and do what God has called me to do even when it does not make sense?  Am I willing to be like the men of old and follow through even if a few calluses are involved?  Many times my answer is “no.”  I want to see results, and I want my happy ending now.  Today.

Maybe the whole point is that we are just in training.  In process.  The very challenges we want to run from are the ones who make us into who God has called us to be.  That while we have seasons of unmet expectations, someday our happy ending is coming.

Hebrews 11:13-16 NLT

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Thank you, friends, for going forward.  For running into the wind rather than away from it.  My own faith has been challenged by watching you.

One thought on “Lines of Unhappily Ever After”

  1. Sarah H.

    How you bless me, Gretchen! Thank you! I’m reading Jenny Allen’s book, Anything. So very stretching, like you mentioned, to step out in faith, to risk it all. Sometimes I wish I could write well, just because I have so many thoughts that I want to work out. Right now, I’m working on understanding how we interpret what is “good.” Sometimes what we think of as hard, challenging, risky or “bad” is actually very good. Good for us. Good in the eyes of heaven. God is “working all things for the good of those who love him.” Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way or look that way. Yet, in His eyes, in light of eternity it is so very good. Trying, however imperfectly, to follow His idea of good and not mine.


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