Whatever happened to happy endings? Some endings can seem a little too happy. It is pretty unrealistic when a TV sit-com family has a major crisis, but they get it resolved in less than 30 minutes and all relationships are peaceful and good. I think I like that better, though, than some stories that end with every character miserable and all relationships are a mess.
(Spoiler alert: I’m going to talk about the ending of this season’s 24 TV show. I won’t give specifics, but talk about the ending in general.)
One of my favorite TV shows is 24. It’s full of action as the hero of the show – Jack Bauer – tries to stop wars from happening and prevent destruction from raining down on the world. This season’s show ended like previous years: Jack saved the world from a major calamity, but he himself isn’t in a good place at the end.
Jack never lives “happily ever after.” The women he cares about either get killed or separated from him. Even though Jack makes all kinds of sacrifices to save lives, each season seems to end with him either going into hiding to avoid being captured, or him captured and being taken away to what you know is going to be terrible torture. Just once could a season end with Jack getting the girl and going home to a nice place on a quiet cul-de-sac?
Dystopian stories seem to be popular in modern-day novels and movies. Dystopia is the opposite of utopia. The setting of a dystopian story is usually a society full of oppression and injustice with little hope or joy.
Has our society given up on hope? Do people think we just have to accept that we’re heading to a dystopia? Do we think a joyful hero is an unrealistic dream?
Happy endings aren’t just for fairy tales. You don’t find utopias only in fantasy literature. The greatest story ever is true, and it has the most wonderful ending anyone has ever written. The greatest story is of how “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The story is full of drama and excitement. It has the most amazing Hero ever: Jesus, who came to earth, conquered sin and death, and gave His life in order to rescue us.
God has told us how the story ends: Jesus reigns as King forever and those who have faith in Him enjoy life in His kingdom “happily ever after.” The suspense part of the story is: who will accept His gift of salvation and enjoy a happy ending to their own personal story? God wants the story of your life to have a great ending, and it will when your faith is in Jesus.
Like Jack, your story will probably have trials, although I hope they won’t be as severe and intense as Jack’s. The ending of your story, however, doesn’t have to be sad and lonely like Jack’s. In Jeremiah 29:11 God talks about having plans for each of us and wanting to give us hope and a future. When we let God write the story of our life we can enjoy a story full of love and peace with an incredible ending.