don’t you hate when that happens? Before you get a chance to see the movie or while you are in the middle of a really suspenseful mystery novel, someone tells you how the story ends. They tell you how it all turns out, taking all the fun out of seeing the movie or reading the book. On the other hand, when the element of the unknown is removed, I find that something else has been taken away along with it. That would be my anxiety, fear and worry about what is ultimately going to happen, whether to the people in the movie or the book, or to me in real life. With uncertainty removed, I am free to relax and enjoy the movie or book, knowing the ending is already decided and therefore secure. (of course if it’s a sad ending, I may not want to see the movie or read the book) Likewise, if a spoiler alert would remove the uncertainty from my life, maybe that would free me to relax and enjoy my life.
I wonder – if I could know what the future holds in general and what the future holds for me specifically, would that eliminate all my worries, fears and anxieties because I would know how things are going to turn out? Would peace replace the turmoil that uncertainty brings into my life? If I knew the end from the beginning (like God does) would I be more relaxed? would I be more at peace and less on edge? would I live more courageously? take more risks? enjoy things more? Worrying about the future certainly does take a lot of time and energy away from actually living in the present. Especially when things seem really hopeless, it would be nice to know how things are going to turn out, nice to know I’m going to pull through a particular circumstance or hardship – like losing a job and wondering when, how, and where I will find another one. If I knew the when, the how and the where, I wouldn’t worry about being without a job because I would know a new job was in my future.
I feel this way when a friend recounts to me something dangerous or difficult that happened to them. I can listen to them calmly because they are right there in front of me, so obviously whatever happened to them (car wreck, illness etc.) turned out all right because I can see for myself that they survived whatever it was. I can hear their story without fear of what might have happened because I know the outcome already. Sometimes a spoiler alert can be a good thing. But I never get them when they could save me sleepless nights, much anxiety and time spent needlessly worrying over all kinds of things – test results, waiting to hear back from a job interview, wondering if a loved one will recover from an illness, wondering what challenges tomorrow will bring – the list of possible things to worry about is endless. Only a spoiler alert can set me free from the anxiety that uncertainty brings. The uncertainty of our current days, days filled with COVID, social unrest, and political divisiveness, has made anxiety a constant companion for all of us.
I could use a spoiler alert right about now – preferably one that tells me that everything will be all right, preferably one that gives me hope and reassures me that better days are coming. That’s the kind of spoiler alert I need now to get me through these days when suffering seems to be everywhere because of illness, pain, loss, natural disasters and the man made catastrophes that surround us. I need a spoiler alert that tells me there is a happy ending coming at the end of this story. And that’s exactly what the Gospel is – a spoiler alert bringing me Good News! 1 Peter 5:10 tells me something about what is going to happen,
“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
That promise gives me hope. I am going to be restored. I don’t know about you, but I could certainly benefit from some renovation work! There’s more. Jesus told us something else about our future in John 14:2-3 when He said,
“In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”
Now that’s good news. A place is being prepared for me. Even if I experience homelessness now, I will not be homeless in the end. A place is being prepared just for me in eternity with Jesus. Another indication that this story ends well. Philippians 3:20-21 is another good spoiler alert, saying –
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”
another glimpse of the happy ending yet to come – and there’s another spoiler alert in Revelation 21:3-7 which tells me what the end of the story looks like, saying –
” ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new! . . . To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be My son.’ ”
Today I am in the middle of the story. Based on the things I see taking place all around me, I would not dare to imagine or to hope for a happy ending. And yet, the spoiler alert of God’s Gospel message tells me that there is a happy ending waiting for me and for you, waiting for “whosoever will” accept Jesus’s invitation to come, to believe and to follow Him.
“Yet to all who received Him (Jesus) to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)
Jesus gives us all the ultimate spoiler alert in John 16:33 when He gives away how all this ends saying,
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So I know who wins in the end. No matter how impossibly bad things look to my eyes, no matter how defeated I feel, I have to remember Jesus’s words in Matthew 19:26 –
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
the invitation has been issued, the spoiler alert given – I now know my current mud puddle is not the end of this story – I have been offered a holiday at the sea – unimaginable, impossible and yet true – my happy ending when I accept Jesus’s unbelievable, miraculous invitation to come to Him – it can be your happy ending, too, dear readers –
sincerely, Grace Day