For those of you who are old enough to remember, the famous Paul Harvey used to have a segment he called, “The Rest of the Story.” He would tell an interesting story you most likely had never heard before, and then after a short station break he would tell the “rest of the story” in which he would reveal the name of the person he was talking about, who would usually be someone very famous. It was always a surprise ending, and almost always an uplifting story.
If pressed to tell our life story, most of us would likely begin with where we were born and work our way up to the present, and then stop. For many people, the story would include a good deal of heartache or struggle, with some doubt about where the whole thing is going. I used to wonder myself why God waited until I was 34 to launch my recovery and until I was 49 to help me discover how He could heal old wounds. It would be easy to complain about my story and say it wasn’t fair, or that God left me too few years of joy.
But for the Christian, interpreting our story at this point misses the most important parts. The “rest of the story” is yet to be told. The psalmist declared, “I will yet see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” And the apostle Paul told us that “He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ.” Ending our story at the present date would be like stopping two-thirds the way through a mystery novel and saying that the story was not very satisfying. Trying to make sense of our life based on what we know so far can leave us with a disappointing story. But if we could see how it all works out in the end (including the part after our body wears out), we would be jumping up and down with joy. Because it would be a story that is so redemptive and triumphant, we would not be able to contain ourselves. God intends good for us beyond our wildest imagination.
We need to remember always that the narrative of our life will one day make for an amazing, wonderful tale to tell, once we know the rest of the story.