They lived happily ever after. This idea closes many books with a contented sigh. It leaves us feeling that all is right in the world of the character. But is it life? Would we even want that? A world where everything always works out with rainbows and butterflies? I don’t think so. Though she probably didn’t see at the time, if Cinderella hadn’t had the misfortune of losing a shoe, her prince wouldn’t have found her. If Ariel had been completely at ease under the sea, would the spunky mermaid have saved her prince from drowning? It was the conflict that brought them to something better. It taught them about the world and who they were. While everyone needs times of peace and ease, to live in a constant state of bliss can stunt growth and keep people closed off to new possibilities.
Peace and ease were quickly shattered for Mary Wade, the main character in Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty. Thrust, against her will and much to her surprise, into a world of criminal danger, Mary Wade wrestles with fear and doubt in a tangible way from the start. Even when she finds helps in an unlikely place, she has to rely on discernment to decide whether or not Brett, her knight in shining armor, is really a toad in disguise.
In the twists and turns of her time with Brett, Mary Wade discovers what she’s made of. She finds pain and fear don’t have to incapacitate. She finds courage to do the hard things. She does it all while retaining a caring heart for those in need, even when they have caused her pain. She’s far from perfect, but Mary Wade keeps going and growing no matter what life throws at her. And, along with her faith, it makes her a better person.
The hard things in life can do the same for us. Often, unexpected and unwanted circumstances attack our happily ever after and we fight it. What would happen if, like Job, we said, “shall we accept good from God, and not trouble” (Job 2:10)? What if we held onto the promises of scripture that tell us God’s plans are to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and that God works in the bad to bring about good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28)? It wouldn’t take away the pain, but it can change our attitudes and perspectives. We might not like it, but we can face each trial with renewed strength and determination.
During the hardest trial of my life, I struggled to find hope, peace, and joy. Sometimes, I still struggle to find those things. I have bad days, but for the most part, God has brought me to the other side of the pain. Do you know what I found? God is using all the hurt and what I learned in my darkest time to make me more suited to the purpose He has for me. Paired with the passion He has given me for writing, God is taking the worst time of my life and using it to encourage others who are facing similar situations. If it can help someone else have a little more strength, a little more encouragement, or, possibly, even a new knowledge of a Savior that loves them, then I can live with the pain. I may not always be able to say I’m living happily ever after with my circumstances. There are days I still pray for the rainbows. I can, however, say that despite the situations, it is well with my soul. And that is a happy ending.
By the Book: Is your life in a time of trial or peace? If you’ve come through a trial, how can God use it to help others? If you’re in the trial right now, remember God loves you. He has plans for you. Ask Him for encouragement, wisdom, and strength as you go through this hard time. You are not alone. Seek out Christian friends who can help support and pray for you.