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« Don’t Be Unequally Yoked | Main | A Place of Broad Rivers »

Alternate Endings. 

Alternate endings fascinate us.  What if the hero would have died—or lived?  What if the guy and the girl at the end of the story had gotten married—or not?  Or married someone else?  We could spin endless scenarios to speculate on the outcome if one or two events had been changed.  Any deviation from the plot would affect the entire outcome of the story.  In the “Tale of Two Cities,” what if Sydney Carton would have escaped his executioner at the end of the story and married Lucie Manette? In “Gone with the Wind,” what if Scarlett O’Hara would have married Rhett Butler? What if Sam-I-Am would have eaten green eggs and ham the very first time he was asked?  Either there wouldn’t have been much of a story or else he might have gotten sick and died over eating unborn chickens on an avocado diet! 

In the Bible, we can engage in similar guesswork about people and happenings.  What if Abraham had slain Isaac on the altar? What if Esau had not sold his birthright? What if Isaac had been wise to Jacob’s deceit? What if Joseph’s brothers had not sold him into slavery? What if Samson had not told Delilah the secret of his strength? What if Goliath had killed David? What if?  What if?  It intrigues us all, even though it seems to be a pointless exercise. 

In fact, the Bible itself engages in some alternate endings.  During a time of Jewish captivity, a man named Haman plotted to massacre all the Jews.  Mordecai, heard about Haman’s plans.  He went to his niece, Queen Esther, to put a stop to it.  Esther was a Hebrew, but she had kept her race secret from the king.  Mordecai told Esther what she had to do.  She had to go in before the king, without an official invitation, and plead the cause of her people.  Her bold move might well have ended in her execution.  She had to make a life or death decision.  Esther had an opportunity to take a completely different route than the one she chose.  She could have refused to intervene on the part of the Jews and saved her life.  The fact is that if Esther had not stepped forward to go to the king, God would have found another way to deliver Israel.

There are alternate endings you need to consider. Why?  Because your decisions about your soul and relationship to God are not set in stone.  The church may be predestined to succeed, but you are not.  Your salvation, and mine, are predicated upon our relationship to the church!  The rich, young ruler could have had an alternate ending.  Let’s freeze frame the moment when this young man heard the words of Jesus. Imagine that we could remove that ending and leave it on the cutting room floor. Let’s have him say something entirely different.  Something like, “Rabbi, you are right.  I have become obsessed with my riches and vast holdings.  My possessions possess me instead of the other way around.  I don’t want to be a prisoner to things any longer.  I want to be set free.” But, he didn’t.  He walked away sorrowful.  He walked away from peace, joy and fulfillment.  He walked away from an eternity with God.  

What about you? How is your story line progressing? Do you think it is set in stone?  Does the ending seem inevitable? Are you scripted to end up in jail, the divorce courts, or in a wilderness of rejection and fear?  You don’t have to.  You don’t have to die lonely, racked with emotional pain and shattered dreams. God has an alternate ending written for every person, according to His will.  But God will do nothing against your will. 

You are not a fictional character that God will cross out and forget about.  You can choose a different ending.  Will you be a willing participant in the story change?

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