Happily, ever AFTER (hope in a season of dismay)

GROWING up there were the things that I did have and the things that I didn’t.
I did have a bank of fairy tales lodged in my memory all begging with a Once Upon a Time and ending with a Happily Ever After.
I didn’t have a reservoir of bible verses or stories of God’s people.
And now here I am.
Far beyond the once upon a time, and now armed with a weaponry of scriptures and narratives of God’s unfailing love and His determined and relentless pursuit of those separated from Him, why am I still so shocked when the ‘ever after’ is filled with more than just ‘happily’?
Perhaps the old adage, biblically rooted, that if you teach a child in the way they should go they won’t depart from it, is stronger than we first thought? I wasn’t taught to seek God first, nor was I reared with the impartation of faith from tales of God’s provision appearing as if from nowhere. So my “go to” mindset wasn’t to trust God with my whole heart but to be perpetually disappointed that things weren’t going according to my, often fantastical, plan.
If you follow me at all you’ll know my last 12 months, although punctuated by outrageous joy and moments of incomprehensible peace, have mainly been filled with challenges, difficulties and the unanswered questions and disappoint that follows.
Why have I been so sick?
Why has our ministry not lived up to the vision God gave us?
Have I missed something?
Has my ever after already been decided?
So many thoughts and feelings rear up like curious little meerkats when your day-to-day doesn’t match up to the story you had signed up for.
But what if the fairy tale has taken prominence over the scripture? What if I’m disappointed that I don’t have a Disney ending when in actual fact the God of heaven in writing me a next chapter that wouldn’t be fathomable without a preface of pain?
I read these words today:
“After your season of suffering, God in all His Grace will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
Do you know something? It took my breath away.
There’s an AFTER for my after.
There’s purpose in my pain.
Like having a broken bone strengthened by a titanium rod, there’s a fortification taking place that wouldn’t or couldn’t have happened without the breaking down of what I was once so reliant on.
Listen to those life-giving words: RESTORE, CONFIRM, STRENGTHEN, ESTABLISH.
You wouldn’t need restoration if you weren’t needed for something more.
Your purpose would not need to be confirmed if it was all plan sailing or easy to understand.
You would not need strength if the road ahead will not at times wear you down.
You would not need to be established (rooted, set steadfast, planted for others to look to) if there was nothing coming against you to challenge your God-given role.
Friend, be encouraged.
Your ever after is still being written. And instead of magical promises of endless happiness likely to dissolve like the fairy dust needed to make it happen, there comes instead a call to prepare yourself for a greater, more meaningful place in the mission of Jesus.
My hard times give me a narrative to reach those hardened by life.
My disappointments give me a platform to bring hope to those ready to stand down.
My personal pain gives permission for God to draw closer, to do more, to reassure me.
Happiness, unlike the fairy story lie, is not a destination. It’s the ability to see the light of hope in the darkness and it’s found in bringing others into a place of love and light also.
Whatever your season remember the ‘after,’ and in finding reason for your own dismay, don’t forget to bring others with you, to use your story to draw others to Christ. Allow yourself to be established – set steadfast for all to see – and to be expectant for the renewing and rebuilding that will refresh you and offer hope to those around you.

Scroll to Top

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.