Irwin Shaw wrote a short story about himself called The Eighty-Yard Run.
The problem with fairy tales
As a college freshman, at his first football practice, he broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown run. His teammates looked at him with awe. His coach said, “You’re going to have quite a future around here.” His girlfriend kissed. Shaw knew that every day after that would add nothing but blue skies to his fairy tale.
But nothing in the rest of his life ever lived up to that day. His football career was disappointing. His marriage soured. His professional life was lackluster.
All of those heartbreaks were made worse because he clung to a perfect moment many years before and assumed every day must be like that 80 yard run.
Life can never be perfect
Shaw could have spared himself no little disappointment if he would have recognized that the default of every day is imperfection. Life in this sin-debased world can never be unflawed. No one will live happily ever after like Cinderella and her prince.
God is clear about that in the Bible. He told Adam, “Dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). Moses says in Psalm 90:10, “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”
Surprisingly, Paul uses that fact to encourage us. In Acts 14:22 when he meets with the church leaders from Ephesus he is “strengthening the[m] and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.” What words did he use? “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
Hard times, loss, disappointment, pain, unfairness should not shake our confidence that there is something unnatural happening in our lives. Worse, that there is something wrong with God’s promises to care for us.
Upset and upheaval is the only language our world knows how to speak. So Peter encourages us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
Expect the glue of grace
Yet there is good news, great news. Because of the love and commitment God has demonstrated to us by personally invading our world, by personally living for us, by personally paying for our sins, and by personally giving us his victory through his resurrection, we are guaranteed he will stand with us through life’s challenges.
With Jesus as our Savior he promises that even in the worse of life’s torments, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
So don’t be discouraged because your glass slipper was lost or broken. Rejoice, because in this broken world the glue of God’s grace mends us, starting with our broken relationship with him and ending with perfection in heaven.