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Friday, July 3, 2009

Does Anyone Live "Happily Ever After?"

The story ends: "And they lived happily ever after. The End."

It is a great ending to a fairy tale but it is exactly that: a fairy tale. It has no real connection with the real world. However, I really wouldn't like telling my children the rest of the story either.

Cinderella and Prince Charming's problems seem to start after the first child was born. His job as Head of State kept him away from home often. Cindy was left at home to raise the child, manage the castle and attend the affairs that were necessary as the First Lady. She was often tired of the work and the loneliness of raising a child by herself.

When Prince Charming was finally at home he often went out with the guys hunting. He said he needed some relief from the pressures put upon him by the job. Cindy wondered when she was going to get a break. They never went out anymore.

One day he told her that it appeared to him that she was putting on a little weight. Cindy would have immediately left and gone to her mother's but everyone knows her mother had already passed away. She picked up their child, put him in Prince Charming's lap and stormed out of the room. The surprised Prince remarks, "I just thought you would like to know! You say I never notice anything!"

Life is a fight. The Apostle Paul said that he had fought the good fight. This statement should give and indication that life is a struggle even if you are in the middle of the Lord's will, doing His work and seeing Him work all around you. We were not created to live tension free lives.

Part of the reason for the struggle is sin. Sin has caused others to act contrary to us even if we are doing God's will and what we are doing is best for them. Anyone who has raised teenagers can attest to this. Often sin keeps us in a struggle.

Yet, God seems to keep us striving as well. He orchestrates great things with struggles built in. He leads His people to the middle of a desert without enough food to survive. This causes them to gather manna every day. No fairy god mothers would show up each day to magically make their pots full of everything they wanted to eat. They had to depend on Him every day and gather just the manna they needed for that day. (except for the Sabbath)

Most people don't do well when their struggles are removed. Look at the people who have won huge lotteries. Their lives are a genuine mess after a very short time. Often they say that they wished they had never won the money. It has become a burden instead of a blessing.

I believe God wants us in the struggle because He knows that is the only way we will turn to Him. Many of us would go our own way without any thoughts of Him if we could. So the struggle itself brings us home. It makes us long for a Father who cares for us. It corrects our path and keeps us aware when we have strayed.

There are no "Happily Ever After" but maybe what we have is better. We have a walk with our God which draws us closer every day.

Fight the good fight.

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