After the “Happily Ever After”

I love happy endings. I’ll read the occasional “sad” book, but I prefer knowing in advance that, despite the conflicts along the way, the story will end happily. I want the hero or heroine to get everything he/she wants, to be loved and comfortable and never again have any troubles.

I was in church yesterday, and the pastor was referring to the story of David and Goliath. I love that story. Talk about a happy ending! But instead of stopping at the “David killed Goliath and everyone loved him!” part, he read on. It had been a while since I read what happened after that.

Now I know why.

It is not happy.

After David single-handedly defeats Israel’s enemies and is celebrated by all, becomes best friends with the King’s son, and goes on to win more battles, King Saul hears the people (literally) singing David’s praises. Saul is so jealous that he then makes it his personal mission to KILL David.

Yep. David spends years fleeing for his life. Years. Saul plots against him, gets his daughter to plot against him, his soldiers…he is relentless.

As I thought about that yesterday, I realized that our lives are similar to David’s. Not in the “killing giants and running from evil kings” sense, but in the fact that life goes on after “happy endings.” Throughout our lives, we all have “happily ever after” moments: graduating from high school and college; getting a job; getting married; having kids; retiring…But life goes on after each of them. Difficulties come. We have our own “Sauls” that seek to destroy us.

So how do we do deal with that? We follow David’s example: despite all his struggles – from within and without – he is called “a man after God’s own heart.” Read the Psalms that he wrote and you’ll see his relationship with God in black and white. He was AFTER God’s heart — seeking it, longing for it, distraught without it, ashamed when he broke it, rejoicing when his heart was like God’s.

Our “happily ever after” won’t occur on this earth. Those who know Christ are guaranteed one, though – an eternity that is indescribably glorious.

There are amazing moments here on earth. A former pastor called those “glimpses of eternity.” But those aren’t to be confused with eternity itself. Those are moments. We should embrace them when they come, but recognize that life will go on after them, “Sauls” will chase us, circumstances will threaten to overwhelm us. But we can get through them just like David did – by seeking to be men and women after God’s own heart.

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