Happily Ever After

November 2, 2012 - Serious Struggles

I am overwhelmed at the response to the blog on Wednesday, Is Romance For Everyone?  I should not be surprised, however—we all want our lives filled with romance and love, don’t we? I mean … I do. In fact, I think even the toughest, burliest guys do too—it’s only natural. Even though it may be difficult to get them to admit it, it’s still true.

I am a strong advocate of romance in marriage—exciting, adventurous, passionate romance that is designed by and sanctioned by God. I don’t think that is a surprise to anyone, but why do I bring it up here?

Someone I trust and admire asked a question regarding romance and tragedy in marriage—it is as follows.

Don, I know that you and Gwen had what many would call a fairytale marriage. But instead of living happily ever after, your story had a tragic, unhappy ending. How do you justify that with God?

First of all I need to make something very clear—the ending wasn’t unhappy. Gwen and I, along with many others, prayed faithfully for her healing. At the end of the appointed time, God didn’t say “No”, He said “Yes” in a way that we did not expect. Gwen was ultimately healed and went home to be with the LORD—healed for all of eternity, never to suffer again. Not terribly unhappy.

That is not to say that I don’t miss Gwen terribly—death still hurts and I grieve for her every day, but our grief is not like the world’s grief. The sting—the finality that the world sees is not for us. We see the true final picture, which does not take place on this earth.

In 1 Corinthians 15:53-56, Paul refers to Hosea 13:14 when he says,

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

As Christ followers, we know that sin no longer has authority over us. Christ has overcome the sin that caused the sting of death. And even though it is painful when someone we love dies, we mourn because of the loss we feel, not because our loved one is lost. There is a big difference.

When we imagine a fairytale marriage, do we think of Cinderella and the handsome young Prince coming to her rescue, or perhaps Sleeping Beauty and her Beau? Our lives are filled with stories of eternal happiness with the husband or wife of our dreams—our soul mate.

Perhaps the reason we are drawn to those stories is because we see the loving couple struggle with life only until they marry, then the happily ever after settles in and their problems are over… forever. But that is not reality, nor is it God’s design.

The disconnect is clear—happily ever after doesn’t mean that we will never have problems again. It means that, no matter what happens, we will stay together, we will remain strong, and we will survive. We commit to our spouse, we forgive when we are wronged, and we refuse to hold a grudge. That’s what draws us closer every day.

There is no unhappy ending to this story—there is no needing to justify it with God. Our romance lasted for a lifetime here on earth, and now our future will be with Him, forever.

Question: Have you struggled with losing a loved one? Can you encourage others? Click Here.