Today’s Bible readings can be found here: Judges 11:1-12 and John 11:17-37.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (NIV)

Most of the stories that I read or heard as a child ended up with this unforgettable line: ‘And they all lived happily together.’ No matter how scary the wicked witch was in ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ or how terrifying the Giant was in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ or how cruel the villain was in ‘Aladdin,’ everything turned out well and the heroes of the story ended up being blessed and happy. I guess that because most of those stories were told to me at bedtime, it was far better to go to sleep on a blissful note than to have nightmares about the villains. We all like good stories and prefer those that have happy endings, even if they are all contrived just to make us feel secure.

Throughout my sixty years on Earth, I have watched folks go about their lives expecting a happy ending. I guess they figure that God will somehow work that out for them, granting them a blissful everlasting life no matter who they are, what they believe, or what they’ve done. Jesus has taken care of everything, so there’s no need to worship or serve Him; all we need is to acknowledge that Christ will do it for us, no questions asked. If only it was as simple as that – we could close our churches forever, stop printing the Bible, and put a halt to praying. After all, if Jesus understands how busy we are, how wise we have become, and how important we’ve made ourselves, He will give us a happy ending. We can get on with life and Christ will be there at its conclusion as our personal Caretaker, Assistant, and Guide into the next life.

I wonder if it really is that simple, and if so, then why was Christ crucified? I wonder if eternal bliss is waiting for us somewhere beyond the rainbow just because we want a happy ending? In my heart, I may want to believe this, but I feel as though it would just be wishful thinking. If Jesus is the Resurrection and Life that we truly want, doesn’t actually obtaining it involve some sort of allegiance to Him?

There’s much more to Christianity than just thinking happy thoughts and taking Jesus for granted. Wishing for a happy ending is not the same as truly hoping for eternal life. At some critical point in our lives, we need to connect the dots between Christ and us – without that full and final connection, we’re just whistling in the dark and deluding ourselves.

Point to ponder:

Am I truly connected to Christ? Am I ready to receive everlasting life?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep us from deceiving ourselves that everything will turn out okay just because we want it to be that way. Help us to reflect on our commitment to You and enable us to serve You faithfully throughout all that is left in our lives. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s latest drawings called ‘Iconic King.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click here. If you would like to ask questions or make a comment about today’s devotional, please send John an email to Traqair@aol.com.

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