Sunday, February 09, 2014

Alternate Ending

by Cynthia Ruchti

Have you been part of a book project that allowed you to choose an alternate ending?  Were you the reader or the author?

The concept intrigues. The story progresses to a critical moment. The outcome depends on one of several choices the author or reader makes.

How would some of our favorite stories from the Bible read with alternate endings?

Eve brings Adam the fruit in the Garden. Adam rises as a courageous spiritual leader of their relationship and says, "Eve, sweetheart, I know this looks tempting, but I can't disobey my God. He said we're forbidden to touch the fruit from this tree. We can't do it." Imagine where the world would be today if Adam had chosen that ending.

Moses comes down from the mountaintop where he has just met with God and received the Ten Commandment instructions from the mouth and finger of God. Rather than the raucous idolatry in which they were originally involved, this alternate ending finds the Israelites on their knees in prayer, upholding God's servant and seeking what the Lord has to tell them. Moses brings the Law into the midst of a people consumed by true worship. They receive the words with gratitude and sobriety and are filled with the Spirit of God. If only…

King David sees Bethsheba bathing on her rooftop. The king averts his eyes, prays for strength, and commands his servants to build a privacy fence between his property and hers to ward off future temptation.

Change one detail and the outcome is radically altered, with generations or millennia of consequences.

We've been given an alternate ending life. Daily, we stand in a position of choosing an option that will help us grow or stagnate, move closer to the Lord or put distance between us, improve our relationships or damage them, defuse a conflict or escalate it, progress in our personal character arc or slip backward.

"How do you want this to turn out?" God asks. "Well or poorly? As a scene hero or a scene villain? Redemptively or destructively? Prayerfully or pridefully? Obediently or rebelliously? It's up to you. Your choices change the outcome."

Even on a micro-level, our moment by moment decisions about time use, attitude, word choices, and focus alter what comes next.

In the ultimate edit, alternate ending counsel, recorded for us in Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV, revised) God said, "I set before you today life and death. Hint: Choose life." 

What was the last choice you made that totally altered the outcome of your life's story?

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction as well as speaking events for women and writers. Her recent releases include the novel When the Morning Glory Blooms and Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People's Choices. or


Sandie Bricker said...

I followed the Lord's leading to leave warm and sunny Florida and move to frigid, arctic, worst-winter-since-1978 Ohio. It made no sense except that my church is here. I believe I'm still waiting to see what His purpose is in it, but there's no doubt that He was behind it. So here I am ... waiting for Him to unveil the rest of my story ... my alternate ending.

Ron Estrada said...

Well it's been 17 years, but the day I decided, on a whim, to check out a Promise Keepers conference. Mind you, I didn't even know what an altar call was and had to borrow a bible from a neighbor. That night I accepted Christ and changed my family's story forever. Now my two kids are sold out for Jesus. I look at the problem their non-Christian friends face and think "that could have happened to my kids." If I don't do another thing right in this life, at least I know my two kids are on the narrow road.

Cynthia Ruchti said...

One thing is certain--it will make a great story!

Cynthia Ruchti said...

Ron, what a great example! And for those of us waiting for the last of our children to discover the wonders, hope abounds that the seeds planted along the way are about to germinate. Thanks for sharing this story. Hope-giving from beginning to…middle! The end is yet to come.

Cherie Burbach said...

The day I chose forgive things that happened in my past. It allowed God to move into my heart and give me the life I never knew I always wanted.

Cynthia Ruchti said...

"To give me the life I never knew I always wanted." Beautifully expressed, Cherie.