This Sunday your kids will be watching a repeat of the movie clips we watched during our Live Your Calling series called MK5.  This time, however, they will be watching them all together, one immediately after the other.  When I watched this video series prior to showing it in our classes, I wasn’t really sure how it would go over.  The acting is…well…okay and I guess the storyline is sort of interesting (while definitely being relatable to the discussion points).  What was surprising, however, was the kids’ response to each week’s video segment.  Almost every segment ended in a “cliff-hanger” – some one was being chased, a bad guy appeared, something super suspenseful was about to happen and then – blank screen.  This drove the kids CRAZY!  They uttered an audible and collective sigh each time they were left waiting for a video they would not see for ONE WHOLE WEEK.  And the kids who were going to MISS a week?  Well, they are one reason why we are showing the series in its entirety again.  🙂  The funny thing, though, is we teachers were certain that the last segment would tie everything up and end with an actual end – not another cliffhanger.  Oops!  Were we wrong.  And while the kids were NOT pleased, they WERE hopeful that this meant ANOTHER similar series was in the works.
This got me thinking about how each of us feels about cliff-hangers…about having to wait for the rest of the story.  I have a friend who joins me in my love for good books.  We pass novels back and forth and have laughed and cried over the same touching and/or hilarious tales.  What we do NOT have in common is the way we approach these books.  I enjoy the process of reading, the time it takes to work through an adventure or a mystery with each page and I don’t mind the time it takes to make it to the end of the story.  My friend, HOWEVER, often admits to me she skips ahead to the end of the story to find out how everything is resolved before she reads through the middle of the book.  WHAT???  “But where is the suspense?”  I ask.  The excitement?  The satisfaction of having worked towards the final destination of an often circuitous literary route?  To which she responds, “But I HAVE to know that everything ends okay!”  That the couple stays together.  That the missing child is found.  That the evil person is caught by the police.  How can you NOT need to know?
In thinking about this difference, I realized that God’s story for us involves BOTH types of “reading.”  Just like reading a book for the first time, I don’t know what tomorrow holds.  Oh, I THINK I do.  I will get up, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, go to work, etc, etc.  But, until the day’s page is turned, I really don’t know what will happen.  Unlike my attitude about a good book, however, this lack of certainty often does NOT thrill me.  I do not like it when some things happen that I wasn’t expecting – illness, job changes, marital struggles. Not so interesting when on the pages of my LIFE.   I have a choice, though. I can gripe and complain about the unexpected nature of this world and my life or I can thank God that I walks with me through every word.  Every page.  And I can give glory to Him, the Author of it all.
But God’s story for us also includes an ending we already know.  One where “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess” that HE is the Author.  One where we will stand before Him and admit that we are unworthy but that One Who IS Worthy has paid the price for us.  So that we can be part of a story that NEVER ends.  I have to smile as I think that knowing the ending to THIS story doesn’t ruin the “book” for me.  Just like my friend, knowing the end of this story gives me the confidence to get through the scary, confusing, or sad chapters.   To know that the sick person is ultimately healed.  The lost and missing are found.  The good guy wins.
As you process our repeat of the MK5 series with your kiddos, perhaps you can talk about life’s cliff-hangers and how hard it is not knowing what is going to happen when we are excited or scared or sad.  But also talk about the ending we DO know about.  About the happy ending that awaits all who call on Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
I’ll still stick to reading my books from front to back without jumping to the conclusion.  But I must admit that there is ONE ending to ONE story I am fine knowing about ahead of time.
And believe me, knowing THIS ending doesn’t ruin the experience at all.
Melinda Lamera
Sun Grove Children’s Ministry