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I’ve heard lots of songs, read lots of blog posts, and had lots of conversations with people lately about disappointment, having to resort to Plan B, C or D, disillusionment over life not turning out the way we expected it to, and wondering why God doesn’t stop bad things from happening or doesn’t answer prayer how we think He should.  It has made me wonder – are people feeling like that more than before?  Why?  Or am I just noticing it more because I’ve felt like that this year?

Life is a struggle, plain and simple.  It’s going to sometimes be disappointing, disheartening, difficult, frustrating, and exhausting.  That’s because this isn’t the world we were really made for.  We’re travelers on the narrow path that ends with Jesus, destined for a forever life with Him that will be free of the heaviness we feel stuck in our time-restrained, getting-older bodies here on Earth.

This temporary home for us certainly isn’t all bad.  Sure, it’s hard but it can also be exhilarating, rewarding, fun, beautiful, peaceful, exciting and always changing.  We don’t exist without purpose here either.  Jesus wants us to work to let as many others as possible know that this world isn’t the final scene.

We watched the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” again last night.  If you’ve seen it you know that it’s based on the true story of a man named Chris Gardner who faces obstacle after obstacle in his quest to survive, to provide for his son, to make a living.  He applies for an internship with Dean Witter to become a stock broker, even though there is no salary and only one out of the 20 interns accepted will be hired in the end.  His wife leaves telling him he’ll never amount to anything and his aspirations are ridiculous.  When he runs out of money, he and his son get kicked out of their apartment and then a hotel where they stayed.  They sleep in subway station bathrooms and on buses. They rush to get in line at the mission at the end of each day hoping to secure a room for the night.  All this time he is doing his ultimate best on the job, studying for the written exam, making calls faster and meeting with potential clients, and running errands for a supervisor interrupting his productivity.  By the end of the internship he is physically and emotionally fatigued to the point of breaking.  At one particularly low point the CEO asks him for $5 to pay a cab and says he’ll pay him back.  Chris reluctantly and sadly hands over the money, knowing it leaves him with only a few dollars to his name.

My all-time favorite part is the final scene of the movie.   All of his effort, as draining as it was, pays off because he gets the job.  His reaction to the news always moves me to tears.  What joy and relief.  After watching all the persevering he did through such awful times, I can feel the relief and thankfulness right along with him. (As he stands to leave the room, the CEO also pays him back $5.)

All of the “stuff” we deal with in this world will be worth it if we give everything we’ve got to obey, love, and stay true to God no matter how tough it gets.   There will be times when people say we can’t do it or we’re foolish to believe the way we do.  There will be set-backs and times when we doubt, grieve or get angry.  Sometimes it will be all we can do to lift our foot to take the next step.  However, we don’t go it alone.  We have each other and God’s Spirit with us every moment.  We need to remember and think ahead to our final scene: when Jesus holds out His arms to us and says “You did well.  You trusted me and remained faithful.  You can stay with me now.  No more worries, no more obligations, no more uncertainty, no more sorrow or stress.”   All the time, money, sweat and love we gave to God, sometimes reluctantly or fearfully, will be repaid and then some!   It will be the best final scene ever.

Think about the words of Jesus when you’re stuck in the middle of the story and the plot is thickening:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Kudos to Will Smith for an amazing acting job in this film!