G.I. Joe: “Let’s Realize Things Are Bad, But I Have a Rescue Plan…”
I don’t know any men who grew up wanting a Barbie doll. Men want to grow up to be Gallant. Whether it’s the Woody the Cowboy, He-Man, Luke Skywalker, Six Million Dollar Man, G.I. Joe, Clint Eastwood or Captain Jim West. We wanted a hero. We wanted to be a Hero who could save the day. Someone who recognized the evil, the bad guys, and the problems in life. I had all the Star Wars figures. I had He-man. I had GI Joe. I even had the Six Million Dollar Man who had this “bionic eye” you could look through to see across the yard. But the desire for a hero is multi-generational, my dad loved the TV show The Wild Wild West. As a kid, he wanted a gun like Captain West. Captain West would be surrounded by bad guys, his hands in the air, and there was no way out… and then, he would push out his belly button, and his belt buckle would open, flip out a small gun hidden within the belt buckle and automatically shoot the bad guy in front of him. My dad got the cap gun version of this as a kid. He wore that belt all the time. He’d push out his belly and his little cap gun would spin out and shoot the bad guys.
Heroes offer problems and solutions. The Bible would be depressing and worthless if it could diagnose the problem, but NOT the solution. A real hero knows what to do. A real hero can resource us form our problem. In Isaiah chapter 9, a rather famous Christmas passage describes a gallant Christmas hero. This is the hero who is the Light in the Darkness. There is a Hero with a Rescue Plan.
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Usually when you hear this verse, we hear about the “child” the Counselor, the “wonderful” and the Peace part…. and those parts are true, but what is being described here is something gallant. Powerful. Something Mighty… He is the “Mighty God.” He is one who is so strong, the entire government of the world is on His shoulders. He will be the one who can finally fix the problems of injustice. He will finally deal a death blow to selfishness, cruelty, pain, death, suffering, greed, and betrayal. Notice the next parts of the verse…
7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever.
Look again at these words: Throne, Kingdom, Justice, and Judgment. This is describing a time when a mighty king… a good and gallant king comes to earth.
C.S. Lewis was an atheist. A Modern Man. Good and Evil are Relative. And he was talking with J.R. Tolkien, a Christ-follower and author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yet C.S. Lewis was moved by this olden stories. And he asked Tolkien why he thought these stories moved people the way they did. Tolkien said that, “Even though they are not “historically true” are getting at underlying realities.” They say, that this world is under an evil spell. Getting along, education, technology won’t stop the evil spell. The stories point to the fact that the physical world is not all there is, there’s more depth in reality. There is a supernatural, a spiritual realm, not just material. And thirdly, we need sacrificial love to save us. All human beings know these to be true and these stories, and our imaginations know that…so we will never stop listening to them. C.S. Lewis, an atheist, thought that was an interesting theory, but these stories are all lies, fables, legends. They are untrue. Tolkien said, One is not a lie… “The world is under an evil spell, we must realize things are bad, we need a Rescuer. A Hero to fix these things. The King comes to earth, takes on the evil forces, goes to the cross, looks defeated, but conquers death and promises to return to conquer and restore everything…” At the end is miraculous grace, joy, sacrifice and a real rescue plan for humanity. Lewis said, “I never thought of it that way. I never heard anyone explain the Bible like that, as another one of ‘those stories!’” J.R.Tolken said, “No this is not one of the those stories, but THE story that all the others point to: Jesus is the Hero with a Rescue Plan. He is the One who says, “Let’s realize things are bad, but I have a rescue plan.”
Legends are built on this idea that there once was a good king, but he left, we long for him to return.. Robin Hood…Narnia… Someday the king will come again…JR Tolkien drew on that for third installment, “The return of the King.” King Arthur legends say he had written on his tombstone, “Here lies Arthur, the once and future King.” What does that mean? Modern era literary critics don’t like these ongoing themes. Some king is coming back, to save the world. That kind of literature was supposed to die out. Tolkien was told that his stories, his fairy tales, wouldn’t work… The idea that a king would come back to kill the dragon and destroy the evil king. Tolkien wanted to bring back this fantasy literature, and the critics of his time said, it would not work, the epic battle of good and evil was too old thinking. We modern people know that good and evil are relative concepts and ideas. Sophisticated, educated intellectuals would like to believe that this literature genre is passé. In their arrogance, they want to believe that we don’t need a Savior, we jut need to be “true to ourselves…” In fact, the opposite has happened. At the core of all of us is a sense, a hope, a reality, that there once was a world with a good king, but something has happened. And evil is afoot. We long for, pray for, hope for a king to come and restore everything…
WE CAN BE GRATEFUL FOR A HERO WITH A RESCUE SOLUTION.
1 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, 2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
When you know you have a gallant hero who not only defines the problem, but can rescue us from it, you are grateful. You are grateful you have a solution to this mess. You are grateful that you know how the story ends. You are grateful you know the problem AND the solution. There is a light that can penetrate the darkness. Notice the Past tense… when God solves everything, fixes our world, and repairs our bodies in the future, we will look back at ourselves as those who “walked” in the darkness… and the gloom used to be on us… But now we walk in light. We can know the end of the story. We have a Hero who offers a full and final solution to life.
Isaiah even tells us exactly where our Hero will come from: By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles. This light will come from Galilee… A land despised by everyone. There was a phrase, “Can anything good come out of Nazarus?” Nothing great will ever or could ever come out of Galilee. Our society knows where hope is and hope isn’t. The world says, there is a hopeless place that nothing good can ever come out of. Christmas reminds us that “no situation is hopeless. No darkness is too dark. Nothing is beyond hope or repair. NO situation is beyond this rescue plan.”
1. “Let’s NOT Pretend THings Are Good.” Like Chatty Cathy
2. “Let’s Realize Things Are Bad, But be Grateful for the Rescue Plan.” G.I.Joe.
- If you are overcome by difficulty, grab hold of the Christmas child who will return as the Gallant King. Trust Him to conquer, to defeat and to finish the story victorious.
- If you are overcome by things not getting better, be grateful you know the end of the story, not just the beginning. Remember you are in the middle of the story, but you can know the end.
- If you think a situation is beyond hope, take a walk to Galillee and Bethlehem. In the Bible, here is a reminder that no one, no place, no thing is beyond hope.
- This Christmas allow the Gratitude of God and Christmas to so fill your heart that you become a lavish and generous giver. Find ways to give your life away. Find ways to give generous amounts of money away. Find ways to help those in pain and difficulty. Take the Gallant Gratitude you’ve found and pass it on.
For a free first session of Godonomics, visit: http://www.godonomics.com/watch-session-1