I am a movie lover. Or, perhaps it would be more appropriate to say, “I am a story-lover.”
Movies, books, it doesn’t matter—I LOVE a great story.
Or, so they think.
I was watching a great movie over the holidays called, The Shadowlands. It’s the love story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Gresham. Lewis is an Oxford professor, published and successful writer, a sought-after lecturer, living at the heights of his career. Smugly sure of his beliefs, sounding off to others with lofty phrases about God and His ways, until… everything crashes. Everything he believes about God gets shattered by brutal reality. Suddenly he finds himself out in The Shadow Lands with a God he does not recognize and does not want to know. He’s caught in the grip of darkness and pain with no miracle or escape on his horizon.
Enter Joy with his answer!
Not an answer he wants to hear but the answer he needs. She tells him that “The pain now is part of the joy then.” She is speaking of heaven but I started thinking about her statement.
Isn’t that the answer for all of us who find ourselves stumbling through the dark pages of our own story? We imagine and plan a storyline that doesn’t involve pain or disappointment. We want to write happily ever after’s only. No dark disappointments, please. I’ll take bliss and certainty every time.
But aren’t the dark pages an essential part of the greatest stories?
What if that’s an essential part that turns a good story into a GREAT story? Isn’t it at least possible?
And, if God is the one writing the story of our lives, isn’t the temporary part of our journey through the shadowlands, the last place where we should give up? What about the end of the story?
What about the end of yours?
Isn’t the pain we experience now, out in the murky-middle, part of the joy to yet be revealed at the end?
David was chased and threatened by Saul, hiding in caves. Joseph was hated and sold by his brothers, ending up cooling his heels in a dungeon. Joshua was faithful and believing, yet made to wander for forty long years with all the carping-complaining unbelieving. Gideon was at the bottom of a deep hole wondering how did this happen to God’s “chosen” ones?
All of them—destined for great endings—yet walking through The Shadowlands of their own stories.
Perhaps it’s NOT the end of yours either.
Each day, you and God together are still writing pages to your manuscript, yes? My point?
If you’re walking through the Shadow Lands of your story it’s not finished yet.
Don’t give up now.
No great story ends in the murky-middle.
Yours won’t either.
The shadow Lands is not a destination, it’s just one part of the journey. The pain now will be an integral part of the joy at the finish.
So? Simple. Your story’s not finished yet.
God has not stopped writing your pages.
If He’s not finished—neither are you.