There are no spoilers in the post—I promise!
Yesterday afternoon, I waited with a hundred or so other people and a small group of friends to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in IMAX 3D. It was a fun experience and, though my expectations for this movie were low (see episodes 1, 2 and 3 to understand why) I was pleasantly surprised. It captured the essence of the original Star Wars trilogy balancing good humor and the fierce battle between good and evil.
The parallels between Star Wars and the Bible are many, but I’m going to focus on three in order to avoid spoilers.
Great people are forged in the wilderness of suffering.
Yes, I’m talking about the desert again.
The main character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has been caring for herself in a harsh desert climate since her youth. She scavenges for things she can exchange for food. The extreme environment conditioned her for the extreme battles to come. She was a fighter, but she also possessed humility and a steely resistance to evil. Luke Skywalker also grew up in the desert and it prepared him for his harsh future (though he was far less scrappy than the girl in the movie).
If you’ve read this blog for awhile, you know that I’ve been an exile in the desert for nearly 7 years. For a coastal kid like myself, this has been agony. Shortly after we moved here, I was doing my daily Bible reading and trying to find some good in this situation when this verse—addressed to the Israelites—came up in my reading:
“And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.”
Deuteronomy 8:2-5, ESV
I laughed out loud when I read those verses. I was being humbled too… In a literal and spiritual desert. Ah, the irony.
I knew it was addressed to the Israelites, but the timing was incredible. God through His Word was reminding me that these wilderness oddeseys have a purpose.
Jesus also spent 40 days fasting alone in the desert. He had just been baptized by John and the voice from the wilderness had said: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” He went from a glorious moment to a period of isolation and deprivation. When Satan came and tested Him, He was ready to do battle.
What verse does Jesus quote to Satan when he tries to persuade Him to turn stones into bread? “Man shall not live by bread alone…” Yes—The above passage!!
After he resisted temptation (using the Scriptures to refute Satan) the Angels came and ministered to him. He went on to do great things as we well know.
Use your difficult circumstance to draw near to the Lord. He has great things planned for you.
It may be that you live in beautiful surroundings, but your circumstances are a desert of suffering. It could be that you, like me, live in both conditions. Whatever the case, we have to allow God to shape us. He brought the Israelites through the desert to teach them to place their trust in Him. Unfortunately, the majority of them spent their time wailing, whining and rebelling. They allowed their circumstance to harden them against God. And as we see in Star Wars, a lot of desert dwellers were hard, ugly and downright mean.
While we are in the desert, we have to depend on God. We have to fight the urge to complain and rebel. He will provide in some way, a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to guide us, He will sustain us wit’s His word. Our job is to keep walking, keep trusting and keep obeying.
In Star Wars, the fight to survive prepared this character for the more critical conflicts ahead. Your desert experience is preparing you for greater things. Don’t let it harden you against God.
#2 There is always a remnant
In this Star Wars movie just as in Episodes 4-6, the Jedi are few and far between. Yet even in the midst of the enemy there are people who know that there is something wrong. Even those who are the villains feel a slight pull toward the good side of the Force. And, even in remote places, there are people who believe in and are willing to fight for the good.
Maybe you feel, like Elijah, that there are none left but you. Maybe like Noah, you think, “surely someone besides the eight of us want to be saved?” Serving God can be a lonely walk at times. Jesus too went to the cross without His disciples. It was a lonely path, but He walked it for us.
Bring your loneliness to God. Ask Him to reveal to you that you are not completely alone. When Elijah sat, desperately depressed in his cave, he said to God “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” Then the Lord told him to go and anoint kings and his own successor (Elisha) and concludes with, “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” Seven thousand! That’s not such a lonely number.
There is always a remnant.
#3: The fight against evil is ongoing.
As I promised, there won’t be spoilers, but I’ll just say that evil took another foothold in the galaxy and the Jedi are… few. It appears that evil will control everything. They are larger in numbers and firepower. What’s a good person to do in the face of overwhelming evil?
I’m not talking about jihad or some holy war. I’m not encouraging people to pick up guns and start shooting up abortion clinics. I’m talking about resisting the pull of evil in how we live each day. Persuade people earnestly to get on the boat because destruction is coming. Take a stand against those who call evil good and good evil.
So many people think Christians are docile and weak, but a strong Christian possesses a warrior spirit against evil. We resist Satan even when the odds are overwhelmingly against us. Here is a list of people in the scriptures who were small in number, but fought and won, because they had God on their side:
- Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego
- The Apostles
Battles take many forms. Often the battle rages in our own mind: Turn off that screen, don’t say that word, refuse to go along with that, take a stand, speak out, be different. Fight Satan!
In the words of Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try.”
Fix your mind on doing what’s right and put your trust in God. Don’t just half-heartedly try. Do it.
Whenever they say goodbye in Star Wars, those who believe in the Force say, “May the Force be with you.”
I believe in a stronger and real force called God. So, I say to you in conclusion:
May the Lord be with you!