By: Tim Sader
Who can live and not see death, or who can escape the power of the grave? (Psalm 89:48)
After moving to South Carolina and becoming friends with the neighborhood kids, at school sometimes it felt like I was alone and despised by my peers. Video games became an escape to me from reality on many levels. Luckily in my neighborhood there wasn’t much for kids to do so when we hung out it was often to play video games together. I loved console video games and was a hardcore gamer. It didn’t matter what game it was I would play until I mastered it or beat the notorious final boss. I had friends better than me at some games but when it wasn’t against another person I almost always won. I started playing Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt at my cousin’s house in the late eighties. A year or two later my parents got me the original Sega and a few games to go with it. Soon the Sega Genesis came out and quickly replaced the inferior Sega system when I got it for Christmas. I liked gaming on the Genesis but still enjoyed Nintendo every chance I got so the next Christmas my dad got a deal on a Nintendo with about 50 games. Having both consoles resolved many fights over not wanting to share with my brother. When I moved to South Carolina these were the game systems that came with me. My neighbor Joe had a Sega Genesis to so we got to trade games and became best friends and fellow game enthusiasts. He was a bit more dedicated to them I think because he subscribed to gamer magazines and always wanted to have new systems first. He had the lesser known consoles the Panasonic 3DO and Atari Jaguar which were best until Sony Play Station replaced them. After he got one my brother and I wanted one but couldn’t afford it. My brother still had his Make-A-Wish though and decided to ask for a Bose media room with a Play Station for an ultimate upgrade to our gaming needs. We were forever dedicated to Play Station upgrading each time they released a next generation console. I played video games on the Play Station until I could no longer hold the control well enough to play. Losing this ability was a big loss in my life because in those games I could escape it all when I needed to.
There is no way for us to live and escape the grave. In video games that possibility exists; if a video game character is killed they get as many chances needed to survive that scene. Living with a disease that makes life feel uncertain at times it is nice to get another chance to survive. I might have been unpopular with my peers at school because I was confined by what made me different. I had an escape though and video games was that needed reprieve for me (Ps. 88:8). Video games are just entertainment but sometimes foolish if we are more wrapped up in the illusion than reality. The wise plant their feet on solid ground (Pr. 14:18). Against all illusion and fantasy and empty talk there’s always this rock foundation. That rock is our God if we fear Him we have a solid foundation (Eccl. 5:7). If God sees to wild flowers that may never be seen He will take care of our needs. He wants us to relax and trust Him to supply all our needs. Most people are busy trying to do it all alone but if we know God we will trust in how He works. We will lack nothing we need; He will see to all of our concerns (Mt. 6:30-33). I enjoyed playing video games because it was something I could learn to well. I did this just for the thrill of winning nothing real. When we choose the way of the Lord we are in it for real and the prize we win is one that lasts forever. We are not running aimlessly or only beating the air (1 Cor. 9:25-26). We are in it for real but we can be sure to win in this life if we trust in God and allow Him to lead us to victory.
Entertainment is necessary at times but not if it is the primary focus of our existence. Any kind of life where we do not focus on the Lord is just an illusion in comparison to the life we find in Him. Without Him there is no real life beyond the grave but Christ defeated the power of death and gave us the opportunity to live with Him forever. Video games helped me escape but that is unnecessary if our foundation is the Lord. In Him we have the victory!
Lord I ask that when we need an escape we would not turn to what is an illusion but that we would run to you. We often look around and base reality only what we can see in the here and now when most of what God does is unseen. Lord help us to trust in what you’re doing beyond our sight even when present circumstance says the opposite true. You see beyond what is right now so help us look to you so we can have a future. In Jesus name, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16