By Melanie Kauffman
I’m sure that most of you have read or are familiar with the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. The final book in the series was eagerly awaited; everyone wanted to know how it would end. Would Harry and his friends defeat the evil Lord Voldemort? Will the war finally be over? Spoiler alert: Voldemort is defeated, and the war does come to an end. At the very end of the book, we’re treated to an epilogue in which our favorite characters have grown and married and had children of their own, and we are left with the final words “All was well.” Initially, people loved this ending. What’s not to love? It’s a fairy-tale happily ever after.
But in the weeks following I caught wind of some backlash. Fans were confused that an otherwise very realistic series ended on such an unrealistic high note. Harry and several of his friends ended up getting careers in law enforcement. This means that there are still bad guys out there, so surely there must still be suffering, loss, and pain. How can all be well if there is still evil in the world?
I don’t mean to pick on the Harry Potter series; I’m a huge fan of all science and fantasy fiction and this is something I see often. No matter how the story ends, we leave our cozy little reading nooks and face a world that is messy and broken. Listen to enough book or movie reviews and it becomes clear – society desperately aches for a true assurance of peace for the lives we live here in the real world.
And that is where the Bible comes in. We are given the true story of how death itself has been defeated! Such a tale does not leave us empty and discontent, but instead upifts us in a way that only the word of a loving God could. Revelations 24:1 tells us “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” In heaven we are promised an existence without loss or pain. We are promised an absolute end to suffering. No work of fiction could ever compare to the greatest love story ever told, that of a God who died for his people. And in the end, all truly will be well.