You know the ending of some books and movies before they ever really get to the plot.
A problem presents itself. The hero or heroine appears, faces adversity, and looks like they'll be defeated. But, in the end, heroes who solve problems and save the day also sell books and movies, so the story finishes quite the way you would expect.
And everyone feels better.
Once upon a time I never worried about the ending because I was living the plot. I never worried about all the what-ifs and the unknowns. I lived the page I was on and didn't bother even to try to find out how many pages there were.
I lived that day only. Which sounds great and in-the-moment and like that kind of talk that's all the buzz these internet-distracted-days.
Be all there.
But it was childhood when I lived like that. You can't really live as a responsible adult without thinking about the future and realizing that your choices today effect your choices tomorrow and ten years from now. You can't not think about endings.
Life is not like the movies. It's also not like those books I read as a kid where you have 3 options and you choose your own ending. I don't remember now - but probably, each ending was just as heroic and good as the next option. You wouldn't make a sad ending in a children's book, would you?
Of course Jesus - He told a story that didn't end the way you'd expect.
God creates man in His image
Man rejects God and sin enters the world
Jesus enters the world and accepts man
Man rejects Jesus and nails Him to a cross
Jesus rejects the grave and lives again to tell about it
It's a best-seller.
I have a chance to choose the ending and at the same time, Someone else has written the options for me. Someone else has touched nail-scarred hands on each chapter and given me choice, but drawn me towards the perfect ending.
We can fight the ending. We can worry and fret instead of making the decisions that need to be made. We can plan our way to the end and obsess over living as many of the best days as possible, and find that we planned ourselves right out of His story. But we can never claim that the way wasn't clear.
One way, one truth, one life - Jesus. Many expressions of Him, but always the ending has to begin with One who is the Beginning and the End.
Once upon a time I didn't worry because I knew I'd chosen the right ending, which leaves me free to live the moment and be present and be attentive to today.