Sunday, July 13, 2014

Passing the Test

The blameless spend their days under the Lord's care, and their inheritance will endure forever.

-- Psalm 37:18
In a scene from the 2009 blockbuster movie Star Trek, Star Fleet Academy Cadet James T. Kirk (played by actor Chris Pine) must undergo a computer-simulation exercise called the Kobayashi Maru Test. Designed by Mr. Spock, the test places Kirk in a no-win scenario as the commander of a starship facing the overwhelming force of aggressive Klingon warbirds.

Kirk remains calm while the imaginary Star TrekKlingon spacecraft open fire. He munches an apple from the comfort of the captain's chair as his exasperated crew wonders aloud if their leader will take action amid the chaos. Star Fleet Academy observers even question if the cocky cadet takes the situation seriously. But just at the protective shields of Kirk's vessel are about to give way, the Klingon attack grinds to a halt. Then, the impossible happens: it's the Klingons' shields that begin to fall. And with a few well-aimed photon torpedoes ordered by Kirk, the enemy ships are quickly destroyed.

The Kobayashi Maru Test was meant to gauge Kirk's response to impending defeat in an unwinnable situation. But since he had secretly reprogrammed the simulation and re-written its conclusion, he could remain confident in the midst of circumstances that no previous cadet had overcome.

"I don't believe in no-win scenarios," Kirk later explained. And why should he? After all, he already knew the story's outcome.

Maybe Earth isn't under attack from a squadron of Klingon warbirds. But a quick check of the headlines reveals a world surrounded by turmoil, confusion and hopelessness. So thank God (literally) that we don't have to rely on our own cleverness to overcome it. The good news is that our Creator IS in control--regardless of the bankruptcies, unemployment, disease and corruption that plague mankind. And maybe that's hard to believe these days. However, God's Word (the Bible) explains that He had it all figured out thousands of years ago--even before the world was formed. He knew which of us would be His followers. And He knew that His creation would need a perfect Savior to deliver us from the dire consequences of our misdirected lives.

But the timing had to be perfect. And so it was. Centuries after the Old Testament had promised His arrival, Jesus was born in an obscure village called Bethlehem...exactly as predicted. Later, prophesy after prophesy would be fulfilled during His ministry through His remarkable words and deeds.

How does this relate to Christ's' modern-day followers? Throughout our trials big and small--and when our world seems to be crumbling around us--we can rest assured that God's plans are always trustworthy and on schedule, even if we don't quite understand them. We usually can't see things through His perspective. But since He wrote life's first chapter, last chapter and everything in between, we can be confident that God already knows how our stories will turn out. And He's the author of happy endings for those who love Him and trust in His Son. 

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