I must admit I have never loved Disney princess movies, even as a little girl.
I did like Sleeping Beauty because my parents took us to see it on the big screen, and it was a rare event to go to the theatre in the 1980s. Not being one to dive headlong into fantasy, I found realism to be a little more to my liking.
Still something of the desire for “Happily Ever After” is innately real and persistently tugs at my heart and mind. Don’t we all love the happy ending? The protagonist defeats the evil villain, the conflict is wrapped up with a bow, and the prince rides off into the sunset with the beautiful princess–where they live happily ever after.
In real life though, how many times have I thought the happy ending was within reach, only to find I had celebrated too soon? Too many times to count, I am sure. Having lived 45 years now I have some perspective to see that it has often been just when I thought I had something wrapped up with a bow and a happy ending, that some failure would be revealed, some undoing, some heartbreak or sin. And my happy endings were dashed and sometimes seemingly destroyed.
I often think of the Proverb my first grade teacher, Ms. Talis would chide her students with: “Pride goeth before the fall”. I am sure pride has gone before many of my own falls, if not every single one. Just when I might have thought there was reason to celebrate in pride, God has had His ways of humbling me. And I must thank Him for that!
I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.
I am learning to see that God is working in countless and infinite ways to bring about happy endings for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. (Romans 8:28) Truth be told though, that happy ending may be working out over a lifetime and may not be fully realized till eternity. Still we are promised joy for the journey as we persevere by faith in valleys and mountaintops in this earthly life.
There are so many lessons to learn in the valley of humility and humiliation. One I have been learning in recent years is to give less credence to “Happily Ever After” and instead lean more on “Here I raise my Ebenezer”.
Taken from the familiar hymn, Come Thou Fount:
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I’ve come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at Home
This powerful stanza comes from 1 Samuel 7:12 where the prophet Samuel “took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”) for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”
How might our walk be helped if we faced both valleys and mountaintops with the faith of trusting “the Lord has brought me this far”? Rather than being devastated when it looks like our happy endings are being crushed, we can walk on by faith which says, “I don’t understand this Lord, but up to this point, You have helped me and I will trust in Your faithfulness for what lies around the bend (even-and especially-when it is unknown)”.
I am guessing there are loose ends in your life which are not yet wrapped up with a bow. I have my own loose ends. But if like a Disney princess, you are asking “when will my life begin” or when will I see my happy ending; can I urge you to live fully now, even in the unrest and the broken heart?
First let me encourage you and say, a happy ending IS coming! If not in this life–and it very well could be–then in the next. We are assured God will wipe every tear from our eyes, make every wrong right, and will grant us every good thing by Christ who has reconciled us to God.
But if you are still in the valley, please remember that you don’t need the happy ending in your hands before you can fully live. If you are found in Christ, your life is hidden in Him and these promises are yours to claim:
The joy of the Lord is my strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)
She can laugh at days to come! (Proverbs 31:25)
Up to this point the Lord has helped us! (1 Samuel 7:12)
Hither by Thy help I’ve come!
Here I raise my Ebenezer!
In Christ’s love, Erika