“i change endings…”

so i was at work yesterday, and i “randomly” started thinking about a Bible story… The Prodigal Son.  i wasn’t thinking so much about the story itself, but rather the circumstances of the story being told… that’s when something hit me like a cement slab that i never thought about before…

so if you look at the situation in which Jesus is telling this particular parable, it changes things.  he was talking to some Pharisees who were giving Him attitude, which was their usual M.O., when He busted this parable out.  here’s the thing that we usually don’t think about when we read about this situation… the Pharisees already knew this story.  or so they thought.  the story of the son who dishonors his father by taking his inheritance before he dies, squandering the inheritance, and then coming back to beg forgiveness was a well-known story, however the way they knew it to end was different from what we know today.  in the original ending, the father rejects the son and tells him he’s cursed, and tells him he can no longer consider him his son.  but Jesus didn’t tell it that way.  instead, in His version, the father saw the son coming from a distance, and did a very undignified thing by running outside in public to meet his son where he was, and bring him back home, welcoming him back into the family with celebration.

telling the story this way kinda blew the Pharisees’ minds.  if they already knew the story, then you can imagine them being impatient, rolling their eyes, tapping their toes on the ground, and saying various things like, “yeah, yeah, we know, and then the son spends all the money, and then, blah blah blah,” and expecting Jesus to end the story the way they’ve always heard it end.

as i was thinking about that scenario going down, it thought that He probably didn’t have their complete attention until He ended the story in a way they’ve never heard it end before.  they didn’t really pay attention until He changed the ending…

and then all of a sudden, my brain just started to loop the phrase, “He changed the ending.”  He changed the ending… an then a light bulb went on… He changed the ending!!  HE changed the ending… He CHANGED the ending… He changed THE ENDING!!  don’t you see?  He changed the ending!! X-)

so it was a situation that was common, familiar, something that happens all the time… still nowadays, we overlook situations as just being “how it’s supposed to be” without giving them much thought or attention.  it was a situation where they all assumed they knew what was happening, and they knew because it always happened the same way… still nowadays, we look at things happening in our lives that we’ve seen countless times before and assume we know what’s going to come of it because the same thing always does.  the story progressed almost exactly the same way it always does until the ending… it wasn’t the beginning, the middle, or even ¾ of the way into it, it was the ending… nothing was out of the ordinary until the ending.  then…

He changed the ending.

i thought about the situations God has me in, the situations where I know what He expects me to do in them, and i see them always turning out the same.  i see the situation going in a direction that looks all too familiar to me, and always think about how i know what’s at the end of this road because it’s always the same.  and lately, i’ve been feeling like i just wanna throw in the towel because i’ve had enough of it always being the same ending, and that ending not being a good one.  but in the story, it was the ending He changed.  everything was as it always was, the way He said it was, except for the ending. 

in Jesus’s situation there with the Pharisees, if they’d have gotten bored or annoyed with having to sit through the same old story and wandered off in the middle of it, they’d have missed the most important part.  the good part, the new part, the part that would bless them, was at the end.  they had to stay through the parts that they didn’t think were important to get to the part that truly was important at the end. because…

He changed the ending.

i thought about how representative of certain things in my own life this was.  how i keep seeing things happening again and again and again and again ad nauseum, and i always see them end the same way.  i keep asking God why He keeps putting me back into the same situations over and over, and i keep doing everything i’m supposed to do over and over, and i keep seeing them end badly… like the original story.  but then, unlike the original story, just because it’s always ended badly doesn’t mean it will every time.  when He’s in control… when He’s the one telling the story… it will end how He says it will end.  i just need to sit through the stuff i’ve already heard a million times before… persevere to the end, keep obeying His instructions, without giving up due to expecting “the usual”… because it’s the ending He changes.  that’s where the faith is.

and as i stood there with it repeating over and over and over in my head until i found it coming out of my mouth, “He changed the ending…” this whole thing just started to click in my head.  trust Him, keep plowing away at the job he gave me to do in the situation in which that job needs to be done, and let Him be in control, and He will change the ending.  and as it all clicked, i heard it loud and clear…

“I change endings.” 🙂

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