Dragon Ball Z: The Art of Waiting
Dragon Ball Z: The Art of Waiting
I’ve begun the long process of watching the entirety of Dragon
Ball Z with my daughters. Their interest was piqued by the
game Dragon Ball FighterZ and the fact that so many My Hero
Academia characters are also voiced by Dragon Ball Z voice
actors. Since then, it has become a family staple activity for us
all to hunker down for as much of the show we can binge at a
time. It’s rarely more than 3 episodes, but one of my favorite
things is that my kids plead for us to sit down and watch it
together. We currently just finished the Frieza saga, and this
stuff is fresh on my mind, so I wanted to share it with you.
Although my family was initially excited about the prospect of
breezing through this story, it eventually hit them that this
experience was going to require a lot of patience. Dragon Ball
Z, while it is a fantastic story with characters you grow to love,
you also spend the vast majority of time simply waiting for
something to happen. You can spend 2 hours waiting for a 3-
minute fight to begin.
I think it finally hit them how long of a road it was going to be
for them when Goku was on his way to planet Namek in
season 2. Goku spent 6 days flying from Earth to Namek in a
spaceship, but it felt like we could have actually made the
journey ourselves in the time it took for him to get there.
During his 6-day flight, he spent almost the entire time training
in intense gravity, eventually arriving at the place where he
could function exceptionally well in 100 times Earth’s gravity. I
tried to explain to my daughters this was just a plot device to
further establish Vegeta’s character arc and give us a plausible
reason why Goku would be that much stronger in that short of
a time span, but they didn’t care about that. They were just
frustrated that it took that long for Goku to show up.
I did learn that it wasn’t a wasted experience for them. During
one of my family’s many long car rides, I looked in the back
seat and my 5-year-old had laid her seat all the way back and
was doing sit-ups while we were parked. Once I stopped
laughing, I asked her, “Baby, why?” She told me that she
learned from Goku that if you are stuck waiting, you might as
well make the best of it. I don’t think my Honda Odyssey
provided the same strength training abilities as Goku’s ship,
but I applauded her effort. If you ever catch me doing sit-ups in
a parking lot or at a stoplight, you know what’s up.
Goku and my daughter had the right idea, though. When you
are in a position where you are forced to wait or be patient,
we need to make the most of that time. So many of us end up
in periods of waiting in life. We look at those periods as
useless, or maybe even punishment. We want to quickly skip
ahead to the next fulfilling time while completely ignoring how
beneficial the waiting season could be for us. Rather than
looking at periods of waiting as useless or less important than
the places we actually want to arrive, we need use these times
to make sure we are ready, equipped, and prepared for what
I see people do this so often when it comes to relationships.
They see being alone, or single, as torture. They don’t see it as
time where they can focus on themselves, grow as an
individual, and strengthen their character. They simply see it as
waiting to not be single and waiting to not be alone. They
waste time waiting for someone else to give their lives
purpose, yet that never works.
Waiting isn’t a punishment; it’s an opportunity. Goku spent his
time traveling to Namek training to be as strong as he could
possibly be for what was waiting on him. He didn’t just sit in
the ship and feel like that time wasn’t valuable. We have to
learn from this. Periods of waiting are the chance for us to
make the most of the time we have. Scripture teaches us this
clearly. Look at what Paul teaches the Ephesian church,
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but
as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because
the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but
understand what the Lord’s will is.” - Ephesians 5:15-17.
Paul told them, and by extension the entire church, that they
need to be careful not to waste any of the time before them.
He told them that it is wisdom to make the most of every
opportunity because the days are evil. The world is corrupt.
Things aren’t easy now and not likely to get easier in the
future. We have to make the most of every time that we have.
Part of making the most of the time we have is understanding
what God has for us. I love that Paul commands them to
understand what God’s will is. He didn’t tell them like it was
some lofty goal they couldn’t obtain, but like it was something
that is well within our capabilities as believers. When we are in
a period of waiting, use it to its fullest. Don’t let it pass you by
because you won’t get that time back.
After Goku finally showed up on Namek, rather than dealing
with Frieza, he ended up having to handle the Ginyu force.
After the oddly unfortunate body switch debacle that fell on
him, he was left beaten, bloody, and barely standing. For his
own benefits and insecurities, Vegeta helped put Goku into a
rejuvenation chamber on Frieza’s ship. When Vegeta puts him
in the chamber, he makes the statement that it should take
around 50 minutes for him to be healed.
LONGEST 50 MINUTES EVER!
While Goku spent time resting and healing, a lot happened.
Lots of drama with Frieza, the summoning of Namek’s dragon,
the resurrection and arrival of Piccolo, the death of Guru, a
metric ton of violence, Gohan nearly being beat to death,
Krillin being gorged and tortured, Dende being killed, and
more. That 50 minutes last a whopping 11 episodes. That’s
almost 6 hours of screen time for 50 minutes of story. My kids
and I were watching this story over the course of a couple
weeks and every time my wife would walk in, she would ask,
“Is Goku out of the hot tub yet?”
The waiting process for this was just unreal. Sometime after
Goku began this process, he woke up. He was still too
damaged and weak to move, but he was aware. He felt
everything that was going on around him. He felt the pain and
fear of his friends. He felt the power and evil of his enemy. He
sensed all that was happening around him, and there were
times he wanted to ignore his own healing and bust out of that
chamber and go help. If he had, he would have only failed
himself and others. Using his time to train on the way to
Namek was important. Using his time after Namek to rest and
heal was important.
So many of us spend so much of our time going nonstop
because we feel like rest is a waste of time. That couldn’t be
further from the truth. If Goku hadn’t rested when he did, the
story would have ended there on Namek. If we don’t learn to
wait and rest, our stories will end sooner and be less effective
than if we just learn to pause. Most Christians have a horrible
concept of the Sabbath Day, or the day of rest. Oddly enough,
the rest of the world almost does a better job obeying God’s
commands on resting than people who follow God. The rest of
the world looks at Sunday as a day of rest, and Christians tend
to do more work on Sunday than anyone else. Not that Sunday
in itself is the Sabbath alone. The Sabbath traditionally begins
Friday evening and goes until Saturday evening. The Sabbath is
meant to be a time for us to rest, because God knows we need
Our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls all need to rest. But we
are like Goku. We see all that is going on around us and we are
struggling not to be involved. Seriously. Make yourself wait for
what is going on the world. Choose to rest. Look at these
"Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man,
not man for the Sabbath.” - Mark 2:27.
The concept of a day of rest was created for our benefit.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of
God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from
their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore,
make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will
perish by following their example of disobedience.” -
The author of Hebrews said make EVERY EFFORT to rest. I’ve
raised 3 children, not counting the thousands I've sort-of
raised through teaching and camp ministry. I know that if a kid
is exhausted and doesn’t rest, they are going to have horrible
attitudes. They will be miserable and make everyone else
around them miserable. You can’t just let a kid run themselves
ragged; you have to make them rest.
God has that same parental heart towards us. He knows that
we need rest. He set the example. He commanded us. He
suggests. He guides. He does everything but force us. He
knows as a Father that rest is important to his children. That’s
what I love so much about the 23rd Psalm.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me
beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me
along the right paths for His name’s sake.”
- Psalm 23:2-3.
David straight up says God MAKES him lay down. God puts
David in time out like a cranky toddler, because God loves him.
He goes on to say He refreshes his soul. Y’all, when I say rest,
I'm not just talking about naps. I’m talking about resting in God
where you let His peace refresh you.
The bajillion years Goku spent in that rejuvenation chamber
was some of the most important ways Goku could have spent
his time waiting. You making time to wait on the world and to
rest in God will be some of the most important ways you
spend time as well.
Sometimes we work while we wait so we will be strong enough
for what comes next. Sometimes we rest while we wait so we
will be strong enough for what comes next.
The last waiting point I wanted to share is that we wait until it
is finished. After Frieza killed Krillin, Goku was kickstarted onto
his Super Saiyan journey. Things heated up and Frieza quickly
found that he was no match for the bottle blonde behemoth.
Frieza, realizing he could no longer defeat Goku, decided his
best course of action would be to blow up Namek, leaving
Goku to suffocate in the cold depths of space while Frieza
continued to plague the universe in destruction. However,
Goku was effectively mentally multitasking and managed to
arrange the resurrection of everyone Frieza killed, and their
safe transport to Earth. He had the option to leave with them.
He had the option to safely exit an exploding planet and
escape the homicidal purple persecutor, but he didn’t. He
didn’t want to leave until he knew Frieza was officially dealt
He knew that Frieza would manage to come back to plague
others unless he finished the job. He wanted to make sure that
what he started, he finished. For Goku, it meant not only
defeating Frieza, but giving him a second chance, and then
defeating him again. He waited till the last possible second to
finish this encounter, even to the point of being unable to
escape Namek as it exploded. It didn’t matter to Goku though;
he had to see it through.
For so many of us, we don’t have that patience in us. We start
things, and give up when the load becomes too heavy. We
make commitments we abandon when it stops being beneficial
to us. We take from relationships and then abandon them
when we are needed most. We need to wait things out. We
need to stick around to finish what we start. Hopefully, it
won’t leave you on an exploding planet, but it will make you a
better human. Simply finish what you start.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is Luke 16:10,
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be
trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very
little will also be dishonest with much.”
We need to be the people who can be trusted with much, but
in reality, most of us can’t even be trusted with little. We give
up and walk away before things are finished. There are so
many people that come into my life for short seasons and are
gone before I know it. Being a pastor, it’s really hard to have
friends. Everyone comes to you to carry their burdens and help
them through their struggles, but then you end up with no one
to walk beside you through your own. In your relationships,
commitments, and endeavors, we need to finish what we start.
Keep in mind, when I say we finish relationships and
commitments, I'm not saying you have to stick around for life.
But what I'm saying is that we don’t leave people in the middle
of things. When Goku commanded Gohan to get off the planet
and leave him behind, Gohan did no such thing. My kids were
yelling at the tv, “OBEY YOUR FATHER!” which I appreciated,
but I also appreciated Gohan not leaving his father behind.
People and situations in our lives often run in seasons. Don’t
abandon things in the middle of a season. Finish what you
start. Even when all was said and done, and Goku’s friends
used the Namekian Dragon Balls to wish Goku back, Goku
refused because he hadn’t finished what he had started.
My favorite concept of this is what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus
had every reason, excuse, and opportunity to leave us
ungrateful sinners behind, but He didn’t. Right before his
crucifixion, He was begging God for another way.
“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow
to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and
prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from
me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” - Matthew 26:38-39.
Jesus begged God for another way, and the real pain hadn’t
even started yet. After that, Jesus endured abandonment,
torture, mockery, abuse, crucifixion, and even God turning
away from Him, but He finished what He had started. He
waited until everything was done. Once everything He was
called to do was accomplished, He finally surrendered His life.
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is
finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his
spirit.” - John 19:30.
If He had given up any sooner, our souls would be in dark
places. But He waited until it was finished.
(You can read this in the DBZ announcer voice) Will we work
while we wait so we will be strong enough for what comes
next? Will we rest while we wait so we will be strong enough
for what comes next? Will we wait until we have finished what
we started? Find out the answers to all this and more on the
next exciting episode of...your life.