The End of the Story
By Major Chick Yuill –
After a year, we’re still getting used to television in America. For a start, there are so many channels. We only have the basic cable package without those expensive pay-as-you-view options and we still have around 40 choices. At least we’re saved the temptation of channel hopping. Our remote control doesn’t work. It’s amazing how less often you change channels if you’ve got to do it manually!
Truth to tell, I’m not sure that choice increases in direct ratio to the number of stations available. In fact, you could argue that the greater the number of channels, the lower the overall quality of programs. Sometimes it seems every other channel is showing the same infomercial for the same ab-roller device.
And on the subject of advertising, let me have a moan about the number of commercials during programs. I’m just getting into the story when I’m challenged to decide on the merits of Pepcid AC as opposed to some other medicine. That’s when I start to shout at the TV, “Eat more fruit and vegetables and you won’t need those things!”
But there are some positive aspects to television here. Three different dedicated sports channels are three more than I was used to in England. Every night there’s the choice of “The Late Show with David Letterman” or “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. And I know more about the migratory and mating habits of dolphins than I ever thought possible, thanks to the Discovery channel.
Then there are repeats. Back in Britain, viewers howl in protest if BBC dares to transmit the same show within six months. Not here. A&E regularly repeats the same show on the same evening and nobody seems to mind. I discovered why the other evening when Margaret and I got home, sat down to have dinner about seven o’clock, and turned on the television There was an excellent film on A&E which immediately captivated our attention. There was only one problem. It had started at six o’clock. We watched it to the end and said what a pity it was that we’d missed the beginning.
Then we looked at the TV schedule and discovered the program was to be repeated two hours later. So at ten o’clock we sat down and watched the first half, which turned out to be a very interesting experience. Oddly enough, the fact that we already knew the ending didn’t spoil the program. It simply meant that we followed the story from a different perspective. We kept saying things like, “So that’s why she did that,” or, “Now I see what he meant.”
Of course, having preached the Gospel for the last 25 years, I shouldn’t have been surprised that it’s possible to find a story interesting when you already know how it ends and when you view it from that perspective. The Bible doesn’t point to an uncertain future in which good and evil struggle indefinitely and in which the outcome is unknown. The New Testament writers insist that, when Jesus died on the cross, Satan was defeated and that love was victorious over hate. They were no fools, however, and they recognized that evil is still around, that there are rebel forces who refuse to acknowledge the victory of the King of Kings. And that’s why they reveal the end of the story. Jesus Christ, who came as a baby, who lived for others, who died on the cross, who rose again and ascended into heaven, is coming again.
There have been unwise people who have misunderstood the reason why God has let us know the end of the story. Some have tried to treat the Bible like a railroad timetable and have attempted to predict when the end will be–an exercise which the Bible itself strongly discourages. Others have used the news of the “Second Coming” as a means of scaring people into Christian commitment. It’s not a method of evangelistic preaching that the Apostles seem to have used.
The real purpose of this wonderful revelation is simply that we should view the story from a different perspective. When others ask, “Where is it all going to end?” we know the answer. When others suggest, “It isn’t worth keeping going,” we know that it certainly is. When others say, “The future is bleak and unknown,” we know the opposite is true. The poet T.S. Eliot once suggested that the world will end, “Not with a bang, but a whimper.” But he was wrong. We know that the world will end neither with a bang nor a whimper, but with a shout of triumph and the coming of King Jesus. And that makes all the difference to how we live here and now.