What did you think about the ending of Lost? Although it aired almost a decade ago, the finale of the sci-fi hit is still talked about to this day—and not always in glowing terms. The final episode of Lost—aptly titled, “The End”—disappointed many of its fans who felt that it didn’t satisfactorily answer the compelling questions the show had raised over its six-year run. Why was Walt so important? What did the numbers mean? And what exactly was that smoke monster?
Regardless of what you thought about Lost, or if you even watched it, it’s more than likely that the end of some story you have loved did not satisfy you. It happens over and over again. Maybe it was a book that didn’t properly wrap up your favorite storyline. Perhaps it was a video game that ignored the choices you’d made leading up to the narrative’s conclusion. All stories must come to an end, and those endings rarely live up to the expectations we have for them. This is especially true of epic tales; the longer and more complex the story, the harder it is to stick the landing.
But what about the Christian story? After all, God is telling the longest, most complex story ever—is there a possibility we’ll be let down? What if everything that has happened in the world—all the pain, death, heartache and loss—leaves us wanting more when all is said and done?
Thankfully, we don’t have to wait in suspense for an answer. The Bible gives us a picture of the beautiful fulfillment that God has planned. The prophet John writes:
“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
For the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure’—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” (Rev. 19:6–8)
Plenty of stories end with a wedding—the culmination of a great love story. But this is the Story, and thus, the Wedding. All other weddings are shadows that point to this One, the ultimate joining of Christ and His Bride, the Church. There couldn’t be a more perfect ending; Jesus has ransomed His Bride and has clothed her in His own righteousness. All the sin and shame that has marked her is no more. At the end of all things, the Bride is bright and pure, and ultimate love is celebrated with a wedding feast.
But what happens after the party? Is the show over? Do the credits roll? Does the curtain close? Far from it—the curtain opens even wider to reveal a reality that our hearts have longed for since the Fall. “Happily ever after” has become a major cliche in our world, but there’s a reason for that. Everyone longs to know that the pain they have endured will be worth it in the end. Every story that ends with the enemy defeated and the characters living in peace and prosperity echoes a future that awaits the people of God. John continues in his Revelation:
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Rev. 22:1–5)
When I read those words, I am filled with hope that the Christian story will end in the most satisfying way a story ever could. And beyond a perfect ending, those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb will experience an everlasting epilogue of dwelling with God.
The next time you reach the end of a story and are left wanting more, remember why. Remember that the only conclusion that can truly satisfy is that of the ultimate Story—the one God is telling.