Here’s an illustration from the animated movie Shrek 2, courtesy of

The Big Idea: Does fate rule our lives, or can we choose?

Scene Setup: Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots have made their way to the Fairy Godmother’s potion factory to try to find something that will help restore happiness to Shrek and Fiona’s marriage.

Scene: Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots find Fairy Godmother in her laboratory. She turns and notices them. “What in Grimm’s name are you doing here?”

Sheepishly, Shrek confesses, “Well, it seems that Fiona’s not exactly happy.”

Fairy Godmother laughs sarcastically, “Oh ho ho, and is there some question as to why that is? Well, let’s explore that, shall we?” She flies up and begins looking through her library shelves, “Ah . . . p,p,p, Princess, Cinderella, there we are, lived happily ever after, oh! No ogres!” She pulls another book, “Let’s see, Snow White – oh, no ogres.” She keeps flipping through books, “Sleeping Beauty, no ogres. Hansel and Gretel, no. Thumbelina, no. The Golden Bird, The Little Mermaid, Pretty Woman, no, no, no, no, NO!” She settles directly in front of Shrek and says, “You see, ogres don’t live happily ever after.”

Suddenly a servant arrives with a sandwich and coffee. He apologizes for interrupting, but Shrek takes the opportunity to make his exit, “Oh, that’s okay. We were just leaving. Very sorry to have wasted your time, Ms. Godmother.”

She is disgusted and tells them: “Just go!”

Of course, Shrek isn’t really going anywhere. He is determined to find something that will help to heal his marriage.

Application: The kind of fatalism represented by Fairy Godmother’s advice to Shrek is what drives countless numbers of people to despair every day – that sorrow is their lot in life, and there is nothing that they can do about it.

The only mention of fate in the Bible refers to the fate of all human beings to die as a result of the Fall. Death awaits everyone – saint and sinner. Beyond that common fate, however, resides a world of choices. God puts before us life and death and challenges us to choose life. God puts before us His Son and offers the gift of eternal life to “whosoever will.”

In one sense, what Fairy Godmother says is true – none of us deserves to live happily every after. All of us are sinners (much worse than ogres). Fortunately, God has found a way where we could not. He offers us the ultimate happy ending through the Door that is His Son – all He asks is that we receive Him and enter in.

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-PreachingNow Vol. 3:21

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