I started a new book the other day. By the end of the first chapter, I knew who would end up with whom and what seemingly insurmountable obstacle would be overcome in the course of the story. It was completely predictable. And yet I continued reading nonetheless, and thoroughly enjoyed the book. A number of books are like this (my own included, one might argue). We know pretty much from the get-go what’s going to happen. And this knowledge helps us through the conflicts and tensions that arise in the middle of the story. We read on, through painful setbacks and embarrassing scenes, knowing that things are going to turn out okay in the end. We trust that the author has the characters’ best interests in mind and will see them to a satisfying conclusion.
It would be nice if real life played out like a book, where all the pieces fall into place exactly the way they should, and you knew for certain that everything would work out in the end. Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew you’d suddenly get a huge amount of money to pay for the medical treatment you desperately need? that if you prayed enough the cancer would miraculously go away? that a strained relationship would be fixed? that you would find the perfect soulmate? But we don’t have any such assurances. Things don’t always work out the way they would in a book. We don’t always get a happy ending. And yet, we do.
Believe it or not, God has a book, and you’re one of the characters. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” David says in Psalm 139:16. Before you were even born, God knew you would exist, and He knew how long your life on this earth would be. But He didn’t stop there. The insurmountable obstacle in your case is sin. And that truly is insurmountable on your own. So God Himself solved the problem for you, by sending His Son to take the punishment you deserved. Hebrews 12:2 encourages us, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus is the author of our faith. He is the one who creates it. And He is the one who will perfect it. That’s a promise for Christians. Just as surely as He began the faith in us, He will bring it to completion. In heaven. Revelation 21:27, speaking of heaven, says that “Nothing impure will ever enter it, now will anyone who does what is shameful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Dear Christian, you are written in that book of life. I don’t know what problems you face today. I can’t promise you that your troubles will go away. But I can assure you that your Heavenly Father is with you through those troubles, and you will get your happy ending in heaven, no matter what happens to you here on earth. Trust your Author to see you safely to that happy conclusion. It’s completely predictable.