I grew up reading all the fairy tales...you know the ones - the princess/beautiful girl finds herself in peril and the prince/handsome man comes and saves her. Didn't matter which story it was, they ended with , "and they all lived happily ever after".
As I got older, I graduated to Harlequin Romance books (embarrassingly admitted). In these, it was the beautiful damsel in distress tormented by the evil and dastardly villain and then rescued by the dashing duke (hows that for a run-on?). They ride off into the sunset in his horse drawn carriage and "live happily ever after".
I know that for guys, it may have not been the books but the sports pages that gave them hope. Talented young man living in total despair in the backwoods of Mississippi who is discovered by a brilliantly lucky sports agent from any of the sports associations with initials and is rescued from obscurity and raised immediately to the level of professional right out of high school...and he lives happily ever after until the next draft.
In high school, I read the poem The Road Less Traveled. I remember making up my mind that given the same choice, I also would choose the road less traveled. Somehow in my mind it was very romantic to see and do things that most people don't see and do. I did not take into account how hard it would be.
As a Christian, I have come face to face with my own "happily ever after" mindset. If I do the right things, good things will happen to me. When troubles have come in times past, I vainly stood with fist raised heavenward and asking, "Why! I have tithed, I have sang for You, I have chosen not to drink or yell at my kids too much!"
I have walked the way that leads to disappointment in God when things do not work out the way I wanted them to. In times past I ran down the path of my choosing hoping that God was with me and not once considering if I was with God. I have been in the places where I find myself wondering and wandering.
I now know that no matter what I face, God is good. He never promised me a "happily ever after" here on earth. He did promise His peace and strength and provision enough for each day. He did promise an abundant life.
I know He is big enough to love me despite my being dismayed by His silence and loving enough to love me through when I have been angry with Him. God is Good. I mean, He is really GOOD!
The realization that no matter what - "He is for me" - frees me. His word promises it - the very essence of His character guarantees it - Jesus' blood paid for it. I am learning to walk much slower and with my ears tuned carefully to what my Master says. I know that the walk ahead will not always be easy but I also know that He will give me strength to endure, hope to continue, and faith to be heartened. It also means that I do not choose the path - He does.
I could grieve for times that have been vainly wasted, but I know that during those times I have learned much. He has been with me in every place to bring me forward to this day. I am grateful for that. I am changed and am so glad.
Be encouraged! God is Good! He is for you.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31