Saturday, March 4, 2017

Once Upon A Time

Heroes are born with the courage to never give up no matter how bleak the situation looks.
I’ve felt a stirring to write about the thing that started this whole thing in the first place, or at least inspired the title—hope. I am nothing without hope. My worst days are ones that are filled with discouragement and hopelessness. It’s like looking in a kaleidoscope and seeing a bunch of shapes that don’t make any sense.
I know a lot of people who are going through things, who are questioning, who feel like they are stuck or have no place to turn. And I think it is one of our most important jobs to spread hope in every opportunity we can. I always say, you never know what someone is going through or how close they are to losing the fight.
I have recently become a fan of the ABC show Once Upon a Time and while the show is not perfect, it teaches some things that are worth remembering. One character, Henry, has a story book with all the fairy tale characters. He says something to the adults when everything seems to be going wrong that I love. Henry says, “In the book, things always look worse before they get better.” Henry is of course referring to the fairytales, but offers some relevant advice for life itself. He has a point. Snow White was victim of a sleeping curse until love came along. Cinderella was living in misery until a night at the ball. Belle was a prisoner until she unlocked the heart of a beast. And we too have our own temporary until moments. We have to remember life is in constant motion and that includes our bad days and not so happy endings. They will change.
There is further proof in the greatest true story ever told. After reading through Karen Kingsbury’s The Family of Jesus book and devotional, I have pondered the life of Jesus and those around him on a much more intimate level. Allow yourself to go there for a moment. This guy who called Himself the Messiah, the Son of God has just been crucified and put in a tomb. He didn’t even resist. The disciples had given up everything to follow Him and suddenly he was dead?
From beside the cross things did not look very optimistic. It looked like an end. And it looked like all hope was lost. There were a lot of questions about Jesus meeting His destiny on a wooden beam. I think they probably wondered if they had understood things correctly. And I can hear them now: Once Upon a Time there had been a great guy who was supposed to save the world and now He is in the ground. Things certainly looked at their worst.
UNTIL…three days later, the Savior of the World rattled the tomb He was laying in and shook the whole earth with the greatest act of love we have ever seen.
Things got better. A whole lot better.  And that is an amazing example of not losing hope. When all seems lost, a resurrection may only be a few days away. Things might look to be at their very worst, but they will get better! I know it’s hard sometimes, but what do we have if we don’t have hope? We have to hold onto hope—it’s a gift to be treasured.
God keeps telling me something else about stories that I think is worth noting. Have you ever been so into a book that you read ahead? You sneaked a little look at the end to make sure it was worth investing in the whole thing. I think we tend to do that in life too and God reminded me that I have to read the whole book for the ending to make sense. I can’t skip ahead because I might miss something big! Don’t cheat yourself by always looking ahead or even staying in the past. God can read us like an open large print book. He gave us our once upon a time and He can give us our until….the story is always open for editing and rewriting.
Don’t give up. Ever.  Stay in the story and don’t let the villain win. Heroes are born with the courage to never give up no matter how bleak the situation looks. And take Galatians 6:9 to heart, “Do not grow tired of doing what it is good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.”
You are loved. You are valued. Go out and change the world. Make your story count.
-Only Hope—Once upon a time there was you.

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