The Ache For Happily Ever After
I was thinking about happily ever after…
The sermon series at our church has been themed on happily ever after. I’m a Christian romance author, so you know this had me from the start. This week, in a dry tone, the pastor asked us to open to the last chapter, the last verse in the book of Cinderella… where we find that “they all lived happily ever after.” Then, he directed us to the last verse of the last chapter of Sleeping Beauty, where he assured us again that we’d find, “and they all lived happily ever after.” Following that we were to go to the last chapter of Snow White…
You can figure out the rest. The attention grabber (that’s what I call those things—I’m not sure of the technical term for such public speaking tactics) sparked an interesting question for me—one that actually distracted my Christian romance author’s heart from the rest of the sermon (yikes! I know, I’m sorry.) Why do we write stories like that? Unrealistic expectations? Hopes that are really beyond reason?
What propels to me write Christian romance that clearly seeks a happily ever after?
I pondered that for a while.
First answer? Don’t hate me—but it was “because it sells.” It’s the truth—but there’s got to be more because that answer simply begs another question. Why does it sell? What is it about us that at least 90% of the time our hearts long for a HEA? It’s like, “I’m investing 6-12 hours of my precious free time into your story; you’d better deliver that HEA at the end!”
Why do we long for that happily ever after?
It hit me somewhere in the middle of service.
“…He has put eternity into man’s heart…” (Eccl. 3:11, ESV)
That was an interesting place to land. I turned that verse over today, questioning the different angles, wondering if that thought had tipped the right direction.
We all long for our own Happily Ever After, don’t we?
It’s interesting, while that verse begins, “He has made everything beautiful in its time,” it ends with “yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Sandwiched in the middle we have this idea that God had placed the hope of eternity in our hearts.
So, are you confused yet?
The Good News Version puts that verse like this: “He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does.”
That future? I’ll bet I can guess what it looks like in your imagination because I know what it looks like in mine.
Because HE put this longing in our hearts.
Do you feel that ache? He put it there. That dream of more? His. For us–for you and for me.
It’s just not yet. Not the right time for that beautiful Happily Ever After. Yeah, we don’t get it. As a result, I’ll cry out in frustration—why is this not like what I hoped? But now there is this…
He makes everything beautiful in its time.
We’re just not there yet.
But in the end, we’ll live happily ever after, in a kingdom that will never end, with the King whose love will make all disappointments and sorrows and aching vanish.
That Happily Ever After you’re still looking for?
It’s coming—and it won’t be the end. It’ll only be the beginning.
Oh this is so beautiful. Thanks Jen. Never really thought about that.
So thankful that our HEA will happen in Heaven if not before then. Thank you Lord for that promise
Love reading your words they are touching and beautiful.
Thank you, Judy.
We know from (some obvious and some not so obvious) scripture that God desires a bride who will love him as he loves her. He created us to long for, give, and receive that perfect agape love with him. We were in that perfect place, until Adam and Eve fell in the garden. Then, the curse of what they had done turned Adam’s focus to try and find that satisfaction in his work, and Eve’s focus to try and find that satisfaction in her husband. That hunger we have to be unconditionally perfectly loved and valued is what God gave us to draw us to Him.