IGNAZ, ANIME AND GOD

by Alphaeus Lopez

To me, it still feels like it was just yesterday that I had a great honor, as an oracle of God, to teach on the subject of The Flood during the adult bible class one fine Sunday morning. Looking back as thrilled as I was, I am often reminded in my recollection, a point that I had failed to touch on, due to the mismanagement of time on my part. From gathering feedback on what was the most memorable point from my lesson, many had brought to my attention the story I gave on the renowned “Saviour of Mothers,” Ignaz Semmelweis. His fate was sad, to say the least as he was a well-meaning medical practitioner who was overwhelmed by the fallacies of the day pertaining to sanitization.

In the interest of space, you are more than welcome to revisit this story as narrated here (in no more than 6 minutes only!) https://youtu.be/OU8MsykzAKQ

In my presentation, an absolutely crucial distinction that I drew between Noah and Ignaz would be that Noah depended on God while Ignaz did not, which clearly had a drastic impact on how their lives would play out. (Briefly, Noah preached for 100+ years (Gen 5:32; 6:10; 7:6) but was rejected by all except his own family (Gen 7:7), a harsh reality Noah had to accept, and yet, astonishingly Noah remained righteous and well-pleasing in God’s sight (Gen 6:8-9).

Ignaz, on the other hand, faced rejection for 18 years which drove him out of his mind, involved him in sexual immorality, drunkenness, and died a sad death by the very disease he sought to cure. It is irrefutably of great importance and value to learn how to depend on God. And so, not delaying the point any longer, what does it mean to depend on God?

Here is a story that may help us to understand this concept. It revolves around an animated Japanese film (anime) called Boku No Hero Academia (My Hero Academia). In this world, people develop unique skills called “quirks” from birth and were generally able to pass it down by inheritance. Deku was born into this world in the 20% minority who didn’t have any quirks.

A chance encounter between Deku and the hero of his dreams, All Might, resulted in the latter passing his powers to Deku. He had to undergo intense training within a span of three months. The immense strength Deku had gained caused his bones to shatter whenever he fought with an opponent. A single punch could break his own arm in the process! It was far too much for his body to manage. But All Might mentored him throughout the process and so he had to learn to control this strength and make this power applicable and appropriate with the circumstances around him.

Deku had to constantly rethink his own perception of how the power could be used to fit various circumstances and to constantly develop himself as an up and coming hero. It was a difficult path but the many hardships were nothing compared to his desire to be like his idol, All Might, and fight against evil.

What does this have to do with depending on God?

Chiefly, everything.

Christians have ourselves, inherited something from the most powerful (Rom 1:20) and wisest being (1 Cor 1:25; Job 36:5)that ever was, is, and ever will be, God Rev 1:8). God’s word is that power, and its greatest purpose is salvation (Rom 1: 16). The bible, a compilation of God’s word from a span of about 1,600 years in which is unrivaled power (1 Cor 1:25) and strength (Ps 18:1-2), grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16).

This power is incredible! Able to save people from eternal destruction through Jesus Christ (Heb 7:25). After all, everyone would fall victim to sin without it (Rom 3:23; Rom 6:23). Not that we deserve this power, but it was a gift (Rom 5:15). Nothing is strong enough to overcome it (Rom 8: 38).

It is a powerful sword (Heb 4:12; Eph 6:17). The idea of a two-edged sword implies that it can also inflict damage upon us as well if we are unfit to wield it. We can only use this power to its maximum intended potential if we depend on God. And that requires training ourselves (2 Cor 10:5). Many, in fact, all have been pricked at some point by the word of God as they attempted to wield it or expose themselves to it, and this makes some angered (Acts 7:54), some sorrowful (Matt 19:22) to continue to wield it as they cannot bear the weight of such a power (John 6:60,66). Many even receive it but cannot sustain (Matt 13:19-22).

These sad scenarios all indicate a common failure, a failure to depend on God. Even young Deku from the story would have long been destroyed by the sheer power he inherited if All Might did not mentor him thereafter. He had to depend on All Might, we have to depend on God. The reason is simple, such a great power must definitely require a vessel fit to channel it! (2 Tim 2:21). And that is what it means to depend on God.

To be deemed fit, we must be ready to depart from iniquity. We must have the mental fortitude to purge ourselves from all these, to be a vessel fit for the master’s use. The attitude of one who is willing to deny himself (Matt 16:24), to no longer walk in the ways of sin (1 Pet 4:1-2), but instead to dedicate ourselves to the meditation (Ps 1:2) and application of God’s word, ensuring that our lives are reflective of this (Matt 5:16).

But be prepared, this is no simple task, for we must be prepared for the cost of discipleship. For us to truly depend on God, we have to hear, consider, and heed Him (Ps 5: 1-3). We have to be ready to commit our ways to the Lord (Ps 37:5). That means committing the things we do to be in accordance with the Lord’s will (Col 3:17, Jas 4:7). Many of us pray, seeking God’s wisdom (Jas 1:5) and that’s great! but are we ready to receive God’s wisdom? We all want God’s blessing and power on our side, but are we ready to discipline ourselves to be able to receive it. Submitting to God’s will means submitting ourselves to receive God’s answer.

Are we ready to receive the mentoring of God? It’s definitely worth it, but we must have the self-denying mindset to accept it.

For example:

● God requires us to forgive men as God has forgiven us Have we done that?

● God requires us to take the gospel to our friends? Are we working towards that?

● God requires us to submit to one another and bear the burdens of one another. Are we humble enough to do that?

● God requires us to tell someone who offends us, what the offense is, so that the relationship may be salvaged. Have we done so?

If our lives are not in any way in accordance with God’s will, expect God’s word to pierce our hearts, and when it does, recognize our faults and change accordingly. This is how we can depend on God to navigate us through the storms of life (2 Cor 4:7-11). May the Lord be our helper, that in times of distress we need not fear or be dismayed (Heb 13:5-6). May we finish our race (Heb 12:1).

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