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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Press X To Respawn

We all know the feeling; you've been beat down, burnt out, lost your drive, ambition and heart....any casual gamers out there know what to do when this happens to video game characters in the virtual world...'Press X to respawn'...the characters get back up, start again and keep moving forward!

So when we feel like this in the real world, and in our spiritual lives why not use the same principle?

I'm a very casual gamer, and even when I do play...I usually the great Captain Kirk once said "I don't believe in a no win scenario" I like to avoid the hard stuff, change the rules when I can and generally never get stuck in to the nitty gritty...but that's no way to live... it's a half life, a wasted life, a life lived too cautiously to really shine...

you've got to get stuck in, give it your all, make no excuses and hold nothing back...and you'll always succeed...wait a minute...scratch that last won't always fact often you'll fail, and be left battered and bruised, unsure of yourself or where you went wrong...that no win scenario, your own personal Kobayashi Maru (if you don't understand that reference congratulations, you're not as big a geek as me) that Captain Kirk didn't believe in, is alive and kicking...but somehow you've got to learn how to kick back!

So how do we kick back?
Well we learn that defeats and disappointments will come, we acknowledge the pain that often comes with them...and we embrace surrender...not surrender to the pain or to our situation but surrender to the one who holds everything in his hands...we accept that we have taken a hit, we even accept that we can't keep going the way we are...we put all our cards on the table, open ourselves to God (however impossibly hard that feels) and we put our trust in the God of restoration, and of second chances. We allow ourselves space to grieve and to feel...but ultimately we get back up again in the strength of God himself.

God is no stranger to respawning and restoration both physically and spiritually...let's take a head count:

The dry bones (Ezekiel 37)
Jonah (book of Jonah)
Lazarus (John 11)
Zacchaeus (Luke 19)
St Peter (John 21)
The nation of Israel (Nehemiah 7)
Add to that many, many others including, of course Christ himself (Luke 24)

Our God has an extensive background in raising people up, people who are down, and feeling useless and just about spent in every way; emotionally, physically and spiritually...but it isn't the end, it is an opportunity to become stronger, to grow and become closer to God by allowing Him to take control and rebuild, refocus, rengerise and of course respawn us...and unlike that great scene in the movie 'ready player one' (if you haven't seen it, it's really worth a watch) you won't lose your experience or skills, you will only become a better and stronger version of yourself...there is always an extra life when you trust in God...

Through our setbacks and defeats you will become a better person and a better disciple if you do the hardest thing...get back up and keep moving, keep growing and keep trusting... essentially you're going to level up maybe even evolve to the next level, where the stakes are higher, the rewards are greater, the fall is further...and where you need God more than ever...

And sometimes there is no point to suffering and defeat other than the lessons we choose to take from it and the responses we's easy to stay down, to take the hits and curl up in a ball and never come out... it's takes so much more to get back up and keep going and trusting... all of us who play video games even occasionally will become stuck at a certain need multiple save points, multiple lives, and multiple respawns (I'm looking at you Sonic the hedgehog 2!).... sometimes we give up, sometimes we don't and we eventually succeed... sometimes we get angry and frustrated and use  some unfavorable words (I'm looking at you again Sonic 2!) but until we give up, there is always hope, always a chance to respawn and succeed...if we give up; well, then obviously we are never going to succeed, we will fail and what's worse we will hold onto that failure and defeat, probably for the rest of our lives.

William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army, a man renowned for fire, and vision and passion went through a stage of feeling useless, worthless and defeated before he respawned and found his purpose and mission...he even mentioned it in the now legendary founder's song 'O boundless Salvation'

"Now tossed with temptation, then haunted with fears,
My life has been joyless and useless for years;
I feel something better most surely would be
If once thy pure waters would roll over me."

He went on to recount his respawning:

"The tide is now flowing, I'm touching the wave,
I hear the loud call of the mighty to save;
My faith's growing bolder, delivered I'll be;
I plunge 'neath the waters, they roll over me."

If you've ever felt like all this you're obviously in good company...saints, prophets and are not alone...

So look, here's the truth... failing sucks, defeat sucks, it can be heart wrenching, painful and embarrassing, it can feel like your whole world is falling apart... believe me, I've been there...but it isn't the is an opportunity either to wither away or to rise up to your greatest height...the difference between the two? Whether you will put your trust in God and allow him to take control, to stand up when you want to sink down... ultimately whether or not you choose to quit in frustration press X and respawn.

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Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this blog are personal and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the wider Salvation Army

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