I've read a series of "teen" books lately: The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, The Twilight Series and the Warrior/Magician/Drago Heir series. I'm not big into the fantasy type books normally, but I liked the Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I've noticed this theme in each of these series of books. If I've noticed it, it's probably pretty obvious to everyone, because I'm not the deepest thinker out there. Each set of books seems to have these undertones of a larger, hidden world and a of deep, unlocked potential and using those abilities and connection with the hidden world to save the world around them:
- The Nicholas Flamel series is about a couple of twins whose paths cross with a wizard/alchemyst and they have something awakened in them that causes them to see a whole world of magic and a series of powers they didn't know they had. The kids work within this new world and their new abilities to save the world from destruction.
- The Twilight series is about a girl who discovers a world of vampires and werewolves and (spoiler alert) is brought into this new world and given great powers as a part of it, and ultimately works together with her kind to save her community.
- In the Weir series, an apparently ordinary 16-year-old boy turns out to have magical powers that make him a target of a covert society of wizards, enchanters, and warriors called the Weir. He discovers that he has powers he never knew existed and ends up being a key to saving the world from evil.
I think God has created our souls to be a part of something larger than the small worlds that many of us live in. A lot of people I know live with the sense that it's got to be about more than just getting a bigger house, a bigger car and keeping up with the Jonses. Wedesperately want to discover that there's a larger story that we're a part of and that we have abilities and potential beyond what we know. I think we all have glimpses of what the world could be and what we could do, if we just had what it takes...
It made me think of this song Meant to Live by Switchfoot
Fumbling his confidenceI've talked to a lot of guys who like me, regularly ask themselves the question, "Do I have what it takes? Am I enough?" I know I've had this question rattling around in my brain for a long time. Over time, God has answered it for me in amazing ways, but I often come back to the question and wrestle with God over the answer. I saw the movie Taken recently, about a Dad who goes to extrodinary means to rescue his daughter from the mob when she's kidnapped. Something in me wished I had what it took to be the guy who would know exactly how to respond in that situation, just like Liam Nissen's character.
And wondering why the world has passed him by
Hoping that he's bid for more than arguments
And failed attempts to fly, fly
We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
Somewhere we live inside
Dreaming about Providence
And whether mice or men have second tries
Maybe we've been livin with our eyes half open
Maybe we're bent and broken, broken
We want more than this world's got to offer
We want more than the wars of our fathers
And everything inside screams for second life, yeah
I remember as a kid asking myself the question of "Do I have what it takes?" felt like the world around me answered with a resounding "no". No matter what I did, what I heard from my parents or what I achieved, I felt like the answer continued to be "no" even into my 30s. I'm trying to figure out how to instill the answer of "yes" in my son and "yes" in the boys in my middle school youth group in a way that sticks to the psyches and souls. One of my favorite authors, John Eldredge, has this to say about it:
Asking the question 'do I have what it takes' was supposed to be answered by the father. Unfortunately, 'do I have what it takes' has been answered by our culture in crippling ways. The answer is almost always 'no.' And 'yes' comes with massive conditions - 'yes' if you go into business; 'yes' if you become a doctor; but that's not what's written in their heart. The boy needs to know from his father that he has what it takes. If a man does not have that one question answered deeply and affirmatively, it cripples him the rest of his life. His relationships with men end up driven. He's a guy with huge tires on his truck but never takes it off road. I'm for guys with 4-wheel drive trucks if they use it, but not if they only strut and posture because they're terrified of being a man.
So I started down this train of thought by simply reflecting on a pretty obvious theme I noticed in these books. To conclude, I think God has wired our hearts to connect with these themes for a reason. At the end of the day, I truly believe that God has created our souls to be a part of something huge, to be a part of his larger plan and his kingdom. I believe there is a world beneath the surface and I've been learning more and more about it as I come to understand this Kingdom of God that Jesus continually talks about and how it can invade this world. I believe God wants to answer the question of "Do I have what it takes?" for each of us to let us know that we're made for so much more than we can imagine, and that we have what it takes, because he created each of us uniquely to reflect the answer of "Yes!"