In my lifetime thus far, I have marveled at how video games continue to grow in complexity. I remember the days when both storyline and design were fairly linear in a game. Two-dimensional heroes would traverse a two-dimensional world, fighting bad guys and surmounting obstacles which steadily increased in difficulty. Take too many hits, and it was “Game Over.” Any hope of saving the hero’s village, city, or world meant starting all over again. (Or if the game was really annoying you might just chuck it out the window.)
In the 21st Century, games are much more complex. Video game heroes and the world they are fighting in are now three dimensional, vast and detailed in their design. The hero has even more complex weapons of warfare and special gifts and talents to help them navigate their world and fight off adversaries. But in some games, game designers have removed the age old “Game Over” sign. Oftentimes, just when it looks like you’ve hit a dead end, a door of hope is actually close by—but only for the most perseverant players.
Although I don’t play video games anymore due to their content, I can admire the parable the LORD brought to my mind recently. I remember watching my younger sisters playing a game called Tomb Raider. While I would be busy reading or writing in the same room, I would glance up every now and then to follow the storyline and their progress. Tomb Raider‘s main character, British archaeologist Lara Croft, traveled around the world in search of ancient relics. Advancing through the game meant exploring a variety of locations, each area more of a puzzle, one that challenged linear thinking. It took time, creativity, and great persistence for my sisters to get from room or area to the next, and eventually to the goal of the level. As the game progressed in difficulty, “the way out” of each puzzle became more obscure. To complicate matters even more, there were often bad guys, wild animals, and all sorts of deadly traps throughout the game.
As my sisters would play Tomb Raider, I always admired their perseverance and willingness to think outside of the box. Each puzzle, fight, and obstacle that came upon their path didn’t stand a chance because they were not willing to quit. What would appear to me to be a complete dead end—and a reason to chuck the game out the window—only proved to be another major step toward the main goal. In reality, “Game Over” was only a possibility if my sisters quit. The game was designed to be rewarding for those who remembered that it could be won. It was designed to be a challenge, but one they could win—as long as they pressed through!
Often times our lives can be much the same way. We may find ourselves in situations that look like an obvious “dead end.” Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where we are clearly lacking the abundant life that Yeshua (Jesus) promised (John 10:10). Or we have obediently followed the LORD where He has led and it seems like He has led us into an endless wilderness. Or perhaps we have made it to the edge of the Promised Land and can taste freedom…but feel like we don’t have the strength for the fight ahead. Whatever your “dead end” may be, the LORD is asking you to shift your eyes and raise your voice up to Him! He is an expert at making a way out of what seems to be no way. In Yeshua, we are overcomers—when we are willing to press into Him and press through!
“…look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” —Luke 21:28
Recently, the LORD brought the story Hagar and Ishmael to my attention. Wandering the Wilderness of Beersheba with her son, Hagar feared that they would both die of thirst. However, the LORD heard the voice of Abraham’s son, Ishmael, and He came to their aid. In Genesis 21:19, it says, “Then God opened [Hagar’s] eyes, and she saw a well of water.” In the Wilderness of Beersheba, there seemed to be a “Game Over” sign hanging over their heads. However, in truth there was just a well of water between young Ishmael and his destiny to become “a great nation”. Although that door of hope was before them, it required a supernatural opening of Hagar’s eyes in order for her to see it.
Sometimes the enemy will mock you and scream, “Gave over! You lose!” when it seems like there is no hope in sight. He loves to tell us that we have failed and that God too has failed us and abandoned us. We may look with our natural eyes and become tempted to believe those lies. But the end only “appears” to be in front of us when we get our eyes off of Almighty God. 365 times in the Bible, the LORD tells us “fear not.” And He also tells us that He will never leave or forsake us (Joshua 1:5). Each day He speaks over us that He is present and He is willing and waiting to perform His Word.
Are you an overcomer? Are you willing to press in and press through? Are you willing to raise your voice and cry out to Him to open your eyes to the way He has made before you? Do you believe and trust in His faithfulness?
May the LORD open the eyes of all those who call upon Him for deliverance! In His faithfulness and according to His great mercy, may He reveal the way He has made for you where you thought there was no way!
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” —Romans 5:3-5