A Lesson from Destiny: Co-op experiences in the real world (Matt. 18:19-20)

Of all the things I love about the video gaming world, my personal favorite is the way that co-op gaming creates an experience that is almost unrivaled in any other form of entertainment.  From my early days playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Contra in the local arcade with my Dad and siblings, to the first time I loaded up Halo on the original Xbox with some friends, all the way to the present playing some Super Mario World 3D on the WiiU with my wife and daughters, most of my favorite gaming memories are also some of my most treasured shared experiences with my friends and loved ones alike.  And now we have titles such as Destiny that are built on the core concept of co-op, to the extent that many of the raids in the game are literally impossible to survive much less complete without the support of a fully cooperative fire-team.  We have come a long way from simply pressing start on controller two… in this game  you have NO CHANCE of survival unless you have partners to support you in your quest for loot and victory. Lone wolves need not apply.  Regardless of the weapons you have acquired, the level of experience you are at, the armor you bought, or the skills you have gained, you are out of your league unless you brought help.

You are out of your league unless you brought HELP.

I recently had a very similar experience in the real world as I was preparing to board a return flight home after a recent work conference.  Due to some unpredictable external forces, my inbound flight landed at the exact same time that my connecting flight home was boarding at another gate.  As the plane taxied down the runway towards our terminal for disembarking, I prayed feverishly for my connecting flight to be in the same terminal I was about to exit at.  My only chance to make my connection and get home before midnight was at the mercy of a logistics engineer for the airport.

To my chagrin, it seems that the person responsible for determining the gate assignments had more considerations than my little ol’ connecting flight on their mind, because my connection was a full three terminals away.  No time to complain, no time to use the bathroom… The plane that would get me home to my family was making the final boarding call as I stepped off the plane.  I began the airport sprint of desperation, knowing deep down inside my chances of making it were about as high as surviving Halo on legendary on just one life.  But I ran.  I ran like only an out of shape middle aged guy lugging his carry-on could run… With reckless abandon.  I knew it was hopeless, but my wife and daughters were on the other side of this flight and after a week apart I was going to make it or die trying.

My single minded and selfish focus on my own need had blinded me to the shared predicament of others in my same circumstance.

I arrived to see an abandoned desk and a closed door, with one other poor soul who had clearly just made the same mad dash that I had already standing at the counter.  Out of breath, legs burning like fire, and tasting the bitter acceptance of defeat, I was informed by my new compatriot that somebody had already told them there was nothing that they could do, the flight was already boarded.  I looked behind me and saw that I was not the only one in this circumstance, as 4 more airline patrons were also racing toward the gate.  My single minded and selfish focus on my own need had blinded me to the shared predicament of others in my same circumstances.   At that moment, the door to the breezeway onto the plane opened and an unfriendly face peeked out.  This airline representative had clearly had enough of the day and had already denied my fellow passenger entry.  Time for a boss fight…

After gaining the agent’s attention I asked if there was anyway we could get on the flight, informing her of how far we had come in a desperate attempt to make the flight.  The denial was written on her face before she opened her mouth to pronounce judgement, “We made the last boarding  call.  You will need to wait for the next flight”.  At that moment the other 4 passengers finally made it, and sensing strength in numbers combined with the knowledge that all she really wanted was for all of us to go away, I tried one more time, leveraging the amount of us in need of clearance that only she could provide in a Hail Mary throw for the end zone.  And an amazing thing happened.  Her demeanor never changed… No, she was still as sour as a whole box of lemons.  But what she wouldn’t do for one or two, she was willing to do for six.  Maybe it was because it would have been a lot of paperwork, or maybe it was the realization the next flight wouldn’t have room for all of us, but we all got on the flight that night.  The combination of our pleas for help, even though we all had different reasons for our need and a variety of final destinations, ended with all of us receiving the assistance we needed. It was our mutual goal that brought us together in a way that would have never happened without the adversity we shared.

Why can’t God just answer my solo prayer?  Why do I need a co-op partner for this?

A theme emerged as I pondered this event… The Biblical theme of the power of combined prayer.  Much like the Taken King in Destiny, there are certain challenges in life that require the joint prayers of others in conjunction with our own to see us through to the next level.  In Matthew 18:19-20 Jesus shares with us a curious principle:  that if two of us agree on something we ask for, the Father will do it for us.  He further gives us the promise that if two or three of us gather together in His name, He will be there with us.  Now here is what I have always struggled with… Why can’t God just answer my solo prayer?  Why do I need a co-op partner for this?  Is there some express lane for prayers with an occupancy guideline?  And then I saw it.

When we as believers unify we answers the prayer of JESUS!  It is through our UNITY that the world will believe in Him!

The answer is in the prayer of Jesus Himself in John 17:20-23… His prayer wasn’t for us to have nice things, or to be cured from all diseases, or even for all of our needs to be met.  While all those desires have their place, His prayer for us was that we would be ONE in the same way He and the Father are one.  Much like my line at the airport counter, it is our common needs that unite us, and because of that our situation changes.  When we as believers unify through our common failures, needs, and struggles we answer the prayer of Jesus!!  That is why we must join together in prayer… Not because God won’t listen otherwise, but because it is through our unity that the world will believe in Him (verse 23).  God loves you and cares about your daily challenges, but His priority has always been to seek and save those who are lost.  I encourage you to take a co-op prayer partner or five with you into your next boss battle in life… you will be surprised what doors will open for you!

 

 

 

 

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