Imagination. It is a wonderful gift the Lord imparts to us as children to dream out loud while bringing joy to all who partake. Kids seem to invent scenarios from out of the blue. Then, morph that original idea into something completely different. If you watch a child embark on a journey of imagination while using your adult mind, it can be exhausting to keep up with their creativity. Little ones change gears so quickly and don’t seem to be married to the original idea. What I mean by this is: They are not afraid to change the idea if the new direction will make the playtime more fun. They don’t get hung up on how much time and effort they spent on the original idea. Kids are not afraid of trashing something they have worked on, to turn on a dime and get the maximum amount of fun by embracing the new idea.
One of the funny quirks about my son is how he makes up his scenarios. He will start off with a great idea, begin to build a plot, start involving others in the room around him then, out of nowhere, a “Kobayashi Maru” is thrown into the mix. “Now we have a game!” my son smirks as he begins to ponder the look on my face.
Ok, for those of you out there who are not Science Fiction Super Nerds like I am, a “Kobayashi Maru”, is a Star Trek reference. To state this as simply as possible: it is a training exercise that all Starfleet Academy Cadets go through. It is a test scenario that presents the student with an un-winnable situation to judge their resolve and “out of the box” cognitive skills while observing what kind of Captain they might make.
Alright, with that explanation out-of-the-way, I find myself kneeling on the floor with some Legos in my hand while driving a space ship with my other hand, about to attack some enemy base that my son constructed with blinding speed. While I am in the middle of making some laser sounds with my mouth, only inches from a strategic strike upon said enemy base, out of nowhere, my son throws up some impenetrable shield that destroys anything that shoots lasers at it….and now we have a “Kobayashi Maru”. My lasers have already been fired and now according to my son’s last-minute plot change, I am now destroyed. His face is plastered with the satisfaction of a game well-played but my expression is one of confusion. I find myself saying: “What just happened? Why didn’t we defeat the enemy?” Of course, I never get a logical explanation of the inner workings of attacking enemy space stations. What I do get is this response: “Duh Dad, this is how you do it!”
Those darn “Kobayashi Maru’s!”
One day after my son and I had finished a play session, I remembered how I used to play with my brother in our early years. Smiling, I realized that my brother and I played very similarly to the way my son and I entertain ourselves today.
One of the more popular TV shows when I was a little dude was a series called: Kung Fu. In one of the scenes from that show, Kwai Chang Caine, a half-white/half-Chinese Shaolin monk is engaged in an intense training session as a younger student. Kwai Chang often asks his master when he thinks he will be ready to leave and Master Kan replies: “When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.” Kwai Chang makes his move, but the Master is too quick and closes his hand before the student can snatch it; so, he continues to stay and train.
That scene kicked our imaginations into overdrive. My brother and I found ourselves out in our backyard digging through dirt looking for stones that we could practice “snatching the pebble” while enacting that Kung Fu scene in our own way. Alas, we could never find one that fit our little hands and had some mass to it as well. So, we dug deep in our pockets and pulled out what every kid had in his jeans in my day: change. So, we used a quarter.
For weeks we would challenge each other all over the house by saying: “Betcha can’t snatch this coin out of my hand!” One of us would hold the coin and the other would delay the motion of their hand, hoping it would lull the opponent into a hesitation that would allow us to get that prized coin from the other’s grasp. Sometimes I would win -sometimes he would. We never kept a record. Pretending we were Kung Fu masters was great entertainment for a while until…a Kobayashi Maru occurred.
As time went by, we discovered there was a trick to the game we played. This newly found information made the game truly un-winnable. We discovered that if you were the “snatcher”, and arranged your fingers in a 90 degree angle to the flat hand holding the coin in a sort of crane like pose, and then you struck the hand below you with some force, the coin would “pop up” into the snatchers hand. This technique had a great deal of success to it. This new epiphany shifted the way we thought about the game from that day forward. It cheapened the feeling you got from winning a round; making our pretend world a lot less challenging while taking the vinegar out of the game we played.
One of the things that facilitates my growth as a man of God, is to contemplate these memories from time to time and learn from what I think the Lord is saying to me through them. And, I have come to a conclusion about this lesson. One of the devil’s biggest tactics against us is to destroy our joy, which will limit our creativity and eat away at our foundation if we let it. Satan tries to snatch the promises of God out of our hands by trying to make us look at our lives as an un-winnable situation, a Kobayashi Maru (if you will). But, if you take the time to look at it a little deeper in the word of God, we will discover, to my heart’s elation, that is not possible.
The bible says: “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand-John 10:29(ESV).
You see, if you have given your life over to Christ, you CAN’T be snatched from God’s powerful hands. His loving, capable hands are a place of refuge that will never be defeated…by ANYTHING your life can throw at Him. There is no “un-winnable” situation for the Almighty. The term: “Almighty” means all-powerful for goodness sakes. Therefore, rest in that knowledge. He is with us, so who could possibly come against us(Romans 8:31)?
After the horrific accident that almost took my life, the Lord immediately wanted to tell me I was going to be OK. He wanted to make it abundantly clear that I was safe in his care no matter what the doctors and specialists were saying to my wife and I. Often, I have used this next verse on this blog, but I feel it really drives this point home. So, here it is: “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever-Psalm 52:8(NIV).
We are that olive tree! If we stay planted in Him, we will flourish and nothing will be able to cut us down or snatch us out of God’s hand. Let us not believe the enemy’s lie and stand firm in our faith because he is mighty to save!!
Maybe you are reading this post and you don’t know that peace. You might be tired of a lonely, joy-less struggle in this world. Something can be done about that right now! If you want to have a personal relationship with the Almighty God, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the “How to know God” page on this blog and make a commitment to serve Him. The peace of knowing that you can rest in Him, will literally, change your life.
No poem today. I felt God didn’t want me to include one. So please meditate on what was written above and pass it on to someone in need. Be doers and not just hearers!!
Please take the time to comment, re-post, “Like” on Facebook and Twitter, and most of all, tell others what you’ve read here today.
The Great Plains Poet, a flourishing olive tree in Gods great house enjoying His unfailing love!
May the Lord touch you all today!!