If you are playing Destiny 2, then it is highly likely that you have already completed the primary campaign and perhaps even completed the Leviathan raid with your chosen fireteam. But as you continue to amass new weapons, armor, and shaders it is highly probable that you have also spent a little time in the competitive multiplayer realm within Destiny known as the Crucible.
For those who haven’t taken the Destiny dive, this a is pretty standard multiplayer mode in which you and your comrades take on another squad in a variety of matches meant to build your skills as well as open up some fresh loot options. But a funny thing happens in the crucible that I find fascinating. You DIE when you are killed.
What, that doesn’t sound strange to you? Maybe I need to lay a little foundation. In most multiplayer shooters we take for granted that we die when our health is depleted and then we magically “respawn” and get right back to the action without a second thought. In Destiny this works functionally the same, but the Crucible is not designed to kill Guardians. It is a training ground for Guardians to battle each other. And the idea is that it is meant to hone your skills for actual combat with the enemies outside of this “safe learning environment”. So when you are fatally wounded your “Ghost” AI partner does not merely revive you… it essentially rebirths you as the same character you were when you died, complete with all the previous equipment and skills but without all that pesky death. Pretty handy, huh?
It would be appropriate to ask why the defenders of Earth are engaging in live-fire exercises to achieve the combat preparedness necessary to save the world. Since, you know, they are actually DYING during this training each time they fail. It would be equally appropriate to ask that same question about each of us in this live-fire exercise called life on earth. Both of the answers are the same, and both can be found in Scripture. But to get there, first I have to be pretty honest with myself and with you as well. I make some pretty serious mistakes. And no, I’m not talking about “forgetting to say grace before eating a meal” mistakes. I’m talking about SINS. Sins that shame me. Sins that hurt others. Sins that I wish with all my might I could undo. Sins that in my darkest moments make me question my salvation, my character, and my destiny.
And it is in those moments that the Spirit of God reminds me of an equally flawed man who was also a man after God’s own heart. And in Psalm 103:8-14 David reminds us that:
The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
The truth is we are growing and learning how to behave as the children of God in this life, and the growing pains aren’t pretty. Sometimes we will do damage to ourselves, and unfortunately many times we will do damage to others as we train and fight in this crucible to rise above our sinful flesh and its desires to move closer towards the portrait of Christ we are all trying to emulate. We can fall into patterns of failure, as I have done many times in my online gaming sessions as well as in real life, and in our frustration continue to replicate those mistakes over and over until we finally make the necessary adjustments to our strategy to achieve success. Other times, we may experience long periods of winning that fall apart in an instant with one poorly placed grenade laid at one’s own feet. And the wonderful part of all of this battling, trying, fighting, and dying is that each time regardless of how poorly we have performed we are resurrected and given one more chance to grow and learn from our most recent failure.
The Lord knows who we are (dust) and what we are (sinful by nature), and He is not surprised when we fall. And the Spirit of God is waiting right there to resurrect us back into His plan for our life when we submit to Him and allow Him to do His cleansing work. It is a process, and it is not without pain. But He removes our last failure as far as the east is from the west, and will continue to do so as a loving Father does for His often exasperating and ornery children. The crucible is a necessary and critical part of the growth of each of us, and it is through this that He purifies His children. Sometimes you are being purified through your own actions and mistakes, and just as often you are being purified as you endure the choices and mistakes of one of your fellow guardians. But either way, the refiner’s fire that we all must continue to endure is only meant to do one thing…
James 1:2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
On to the crucible, Guardians… today’s trials await!