Happily Ever After

As a child, I dreamed of the happily ever after that I hoped would be mine. I loved the concept of the mighty prince on the white horse whose love for the princess led him to rescue her at any cost. I wanted right to win and wrong to be revealed. I wanted to be chosen and special and loved and live my life free from fear and injustice and disappointment. When the reality of adulthood replaced my childish expectations, I felt that Disney had lied to me.

As I shared this with a friend, she pointed out that Disney stories always have a monster that threatens the “happily ever after”. That monster can be named “Ursula”, “Maleficent”, “Jafar”, or “Gaston”. It might be a Big Bad Wolf or your run of the mill wicked stepmother. But in this world and in Disney stories, there is no shortage of villains to threaten our “happily ever after”.

As I prepared to teach a series of lessons on what the Bible teaches us about heaven, I was brought to tears as I saw that this desire for “happily ever after” is absolutely God given. When evil entered our world, it threatened our “happily ever after” and separated us from the one who utterly loves us. God sent his son, at great cost, to rescue us from the evil that seeks to destroy us and separate us from the God who loves us. His desire is to take us with him into an eternity that will have no more “death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev 21:4). His goal is for us to seek him in this life so that we will know the “happily ever after” he has prepared for us.

And then I realized it. Disney didn’t lie; Disney just managed to capture that longing in us that is God given. That desire to know a higher being than ourselves and find purpose and meaning outside of what we currently know is hard wired into us by God himself. This life gives us bodies that will deteriorate and forces us to work through pain and war and fears and tears. It is natural for suffering to lead us to look beyond the here and now. God intentionally put a glimpse and longing for eternity into all humans so that it would lead us to seek him.

The problem is that so many have sought understanding and answers apart from God, and that has led to perversion of the truth and futility and evil. The Egyptians built pyramids and stocked them with all the necessities and luxuries of life in hopes that they might have them after they die. Many Eastern religions believe in reincarnation to give purpose to their life and hope for fulfillment after this life. Mormons believe they will inhabit other planets; Native Americans believed their spirits would hunt the spirits of buffalo or that they would become stars. Aborigines believe after this life they will live again on another island on the western horizon. Many spiritualists believe their spirits will be absorbed into energy or light or a collective cosmos after they die. Only Christians worship the God who comes to them. He shows up wherever his people are. He entered history to live among them. He seeks relationship with them in this life and has prepared a place for them in eternity. When he comes back at the end of time, he will be riding a horse. Revelation 19 tells that Jesus will return riding a horse, to defeat Satan and the evil that has oppressed and aggrieved his people. Jesus will win, and evil will lose. And the people who love God will go with him into heaven, the happily ever after God has prepared for them.

We all want a “happily ever after” because God wants us to desire the eternity he has planned for us. I challenge you to study what God’s word says about what he has promised for your “happily ever after”. What the Bible says about heaven is as true as what it says about everything else. Our understanding of what is to come will help us keep this temporary life in proper perspective.

Ecc 3:11 “He has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done for them from the beginning to the end.”