In a move that was completely unanticipated by the masses, Epic Games did the unthinkable… they shut down Fortnite. They did what no other game, not PUBG, not Destiny, not even the omnipotent juggernaut Call of Duty could do…. they made people stop playing Fortnite. Think about that. People play it via mobile because when you can’t play Fortnite in your living room due to the horrible realities of work, school, and basic human health and hygiene requirements, it is STILL there for you via your Nintendo Switch or other mobile device. DINNER doesn’t even stop people from playing Fortnite. And yet, for at least a brief window of time, the candle of Fortnite has flickered out, forcing people to perform such mundane tasks like face-to-face human communication, grocery shopping, homework, and walking outside to check the mail. It’s gonna be a rough few days as this grim, new, Fortnite-less reality kicks in for those who can only relive this moment over and over again in their mind’s eye…
There is an interesting concept within this chaos that our current free-to-play, always online generation may have forgotten… none of us actually OWN Fortnite. You may have purchased online currency for it, or perhaps it is taking up space on your hard drive somewhere, but make no mistake. You do not POSSESS Fortnite. It exists as long as the Epic Games servers are online, functioning, and the creators see the value in maintaining it. I doubt that many of the current players of Fortnite even considered the possibility that their beloved game could be removed from them so easily, yet here we are. In an era where many games exist primarily digitally or even as an online-only download, the security of a physical disc that can be played in either the presence of digital disruption or the absence of online connectivity never felt so good.
While the panic around a night without Fortnite will eventually pass and a new chapter will take its place, the idea of believing you possess something that isn’t actually yours has it’s home in more than just your entertainment center. We are so used to buying digital items, movies, and games that many times we fail to realize we don’t own a product, just a LICENSE of use for the product. A license that can be revoked if the ACTUAL owner of the product can no longer fulfill their end of the agreement, or if the infrastructure that supports the product ceases to exist. We are all one global EMP epidemic away from losing all of the precious digital items we have shelled out our hard-earned money for.
That may sound a bit far-fetched, but believe it or not there is an even larger epidemic with farther reaching implications than the potential collapse of our digital marketplace. If I was to ask you right now about the strength of your faith in God, you would most likely respond with confidence that it is either as solid as a rock or non-existent based on your belief system. It is unlikely you would respond by saying that your faith in God fluctuates day to day based on your circumstances, because that would contradict all we know about faith. An atheist cannot truly be an atheist if they waffle back and forth on their belief in God… it must be absolute. Likewise, a Christian either knows God exists and believes He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and omni-present… or they don’t. There cannot be a middle ground.
The funny thing is that we tend to feel very comfortable with our belief system up to the point that it is shaken by forces beyond either our predictions, control or comprehension. And then, all of a sudden, we find our faith (or lack of faith) is challenged and the ensuing storm reveals the actual foundation of our faith. Jesus addressed this directly in Matthew 7:24-27…
Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Many times in our lives we experience the pounding wind and rain that is neither punishment, judgment, or a lack of God’s divine protection. It is simply the realities of living in a fallen world in which tires go flat, jobs get downsized, and bodies get sick. In these moments of pain and pressure we expect our relationship with God to pull us through as He calmly walks out and commands the wind and rain to stop. And many times He will do exactly that. But in those times when He does not respond, it can be easy to question the strength of our faith or consider that we are the cause of the silence.
The truth about faith is that it is not measured by the way that God moves mountains in answer to your prayers, but by the strength of your belief AND obedience within the silence and pressure of the black hole.
If you are wondering why your prayers are not being answered and it seems like you cannot find your footing in the challenging situation you are struggling in, it is time to examine your foundation. The black hole that seems to be absorbing your prayers as quickly as you can pray them is neither eternal nor is it fatal. Just as there will be a point in time in which we cross the event horizon in Fortnite into a brave new chapter, there is another chapter in your journey. The wind and rain is not a punishment, it is an opportunity to reflect on the strength of your foundation and insure it is built on the ROCK, not on shifting sand that only holds up under optimal circumstances. You are not responsible for building a perfect house… just selecting and being obedient to the correct foundation.
I pray this encourages you, no matter what dark night you are currently in (or are unknowingly headed towards), that your faith is demonstrated by your unshakable belief in God regardless of His outward demonstration of concern. He is the God who knows the current count of every hair on your head (even if that job is getting easier on Him with each passing year). He knows, He sees, and He cares. He is not testing your faith so He can measure it… He already knows the answer. He is using your situation and circumstances to reveal that answer to YOU. He is not wondering what you are made of, but rather revealing to you what you are BUILT on and what you ACTUALLY possess. The simple truth about faith is that if you truly possess it and have built your life upon Jesus Christ, the one true Rock, then you truly possess HIM just as He possesses you.
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