Faith & Fandom
Titanfall: Outer Man perishing
So back in the early spring of 2014 when they announced that Batman: Arkham Knight would only be on “Next Gen” consoles, my heart broke a little and I knew there was a sizeable chunk about to vacate my bank account. So as I was considering my options (to this day I’ve never owned a Sony product beyond a Walkman), I started seeing ads for Titanfall and was sucked up by the hype. I really feel like the game provides a level of versatility that most online combat games don’t. Between how you maneuver and fight as a pilot, to how you use your titan, there are just endless variables. True there is next to no campaign and that’s a big party foul for me, but in all honesty there wasn’t that much going on for XBOX One at launch so I put in a ton of hours waiting for my Titan to drop.
For those who haven’t played this game and have nothing better to do than read this chapter anyway (thanks, it’s greatly appreciated), in Titanfall you are a “Pilot” which you can customize with your own specific skill set and you run and gun like most other Call Of Duty style PVP games, the distinction comes in that you also get a “Titan” Mech-Suit to play in as well. The suits are on a timer in order to be able to drop, but by excelling individually you can get your titan suit faster. So basically the entire game consists of fighting against other Titans and Pilots. Mech suits aren’t anything really new or revolutionary to video games, but they are consistently fun. They also make the experience more enjoyable because in essence you get multiple lives per round if you manage your titan well. One of the things that annoys me most about Call Of Duty multiplayer is that if you are new, or just suck in general, is that you spend most of your time getting killed without ever putting a dent into your opposition. You spawn, get killed by someone you never even saw, and the vicious cycle repeats. When your mech-suit is being destroyed in Titanfall, if you’re quick enough, you can eject and escape death for the time. Not only do you escape death but you get all your stuff refilled when you exit. So in the middle of one of my last second ejections I realized this was a concept I’d heard before.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16 Paul makes this statement “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Yes your giant mech suit is being destroyed by some jerk with a cluster missile and a camper with a charge rifle, but you are actually inside, relatively safe, and in the end you will be stronger for it. In our lives we get so caught up with the opposition and struggles we face on a daily basis that it’s hard to see past them. We think that when we face attacks by criticism, failures, anxieties, work, school, social media, relationships, and any other areas in our lives that we truly are being destroyed. The same also goes with physical issues, like when we get older, injured, out of shape, or even worse with illness and disease. We feel like when these things hit us our lives are over. While we can’t tap the “x” button to eject from our bodies and burdens, we need to see that we are in fact being made into something new and stronger. In Christ we are going through the process of sanctification, becoming who God created and redeemed us to be. From the point we begin a relationship with Him until our last breath is drawn and we stand before Him in eternity, we are being made new. That is why Paul goes on to say in verse 17 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
When we are struggling, it’s hard to think, “Man I’m so thankful things in my life are hard, because one day after I’m dead, if I’m right about everything I believe, it’ll be great.” We need to keep perspective about what we believe, and what we hope for though, because if it’s really what we believe we really need to let it change our lives. Are the things that hurt us in this life real? Yes. I am not denying anyone’s pain, fear, anguish, or anxiety. What I’m acknowledging beyond that is that we will be made whole and healed in what Christ has done. In Romans 8:18, Paul also shared similar sentiments. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The pain and struggles we go through may suck, but they are giving us the experience and perseverance we need in this sanctification process, like previously stated, “though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
In Titanfall there is the process of Regeneration. When you have met the requirements, trials, and challenges of a certain level of experience, you gain a new rank and then basically start the process back over again. Each time this process occurs, you are faster, stronger, and better equipped. The processes we go through here and now don’t just make us stronger for heaven, they make us stronger for the here and now. James 1 shows us “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (Verses 2-4) We have to learn to not fear or run from our battles, but to fight them knowing we will be better for them.
Before I conclude this chapter, I’d like to drop one more titan. One of the things I enjoy most even though it’s silly and slightly pointless is that at the end of a match, you can evacuate. Most PVP combat, you either simply wait around after you lose or just die, but not in Titanfall. After you have been declared the loser, you have the opportunity to flee to a dropship and exit before things get bloody with the winning team. This really reminded me of what Paul tells about how God backs us up in the face of temptation (side note - temptations are not the same thing as trials or struggles. God prunes, disciplines, tries, and tests us, but he doesn’t tempt us. See James 1:13). He will always provide us with an exit strategy. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” – 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Like the dropship that comes at the end of each match without fail, we can count that any and every time we are tempted, God will in fact provide a way out for us. True, most of the time we don’t even bother looking for a way out, but he is loving enough to make sure that there is one. I’m sure our lives would be easier or at least a lot cooler if we had a giant mech-suit at our disposal. We would be able to shelter ourselves from our trials, and come out untouched on the other side of them. That’s not likely to happen in our lifetime (here’s hoping though). What we can count on is that our struggles will not defeat us because they are just part of the process of us becoming who God calls us to be. We can know that while we may not be safe in a titan, we are safe in the hands of a God who will see us through all of it.