Microsoft has finally answered Sony’s impressive console debut with a showcase focused on their slate of world premiere trailers, an impressive library of both 1st party and 3rd party support for their Game Pass service, and… well… that Halo: Infinite footage. Compared to the exceptionally life-like Forza footage that followed it (pre-rendered or not), Halo:Infinite looked like it was going back to it’s roots in more ways than one, and that is not meant as a compliment. I am a MASSIVE and unapologetic fanboy of Halo, but when my wife watched the footage alongside me and asked me with all sincerity why it looked worse than Halo 5… well, I didn’t really have a good answer. We are by no means graphics snobs as we love the simple visual styling in modern games such as Overcooked and Untitled Goose Game, but this was not the jaw-dropping visuals we were anticipating after the drool-worthy shots from the PS5 demonstration just a few weeks ago.
Now to be fair there was a lot of good stuff… the announcement of a new Fable was really more of a tease, but it was EXACTLY the kind of news that this next Xbox needed to compete with the flashier presentation from Sony. Obsidian showed a couple of extremely promising new franchises with “Avowed” looking like it may scratch that Elder Scrolls itch for all of us pretty hard, and “Grounded” appearing to be the bizarre mash-up of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” with an open-world survival game that I didn’t even know I needed. And of course Forza looked as breath-taking as we have come to expect, finally showing off the muscle of the new Xbox Series X that we were promised.
Was Microsoft’s newest reveal a grand slam? Well… to be honest, I’m not even sure it was a ground-rule double. (Sorry… I know it seems like there hasn’t been baseball in twenty years but I promise those are good baseball references). Quantity seemed to trump quality, and the new franchises that were shown off did not get much time to shine in a show that ran at a brisk pace to stay within a one hour runtime. I would have loved to hear more about this new title from Rare that had a very interesting concept and distinctive art style, or maybe spent some time looking at the multiplayer portion of Halo since that is as important as the single player campaign for most gamers. But honestly, the biggest let-down was that we STILL don’t have any concrete details on the price, date, or specific launch titles for the Xbox Series X and we are mere months away from the “Holiday 2020” time period that it is slated for.
I suppose it never gets easy to walk by faith and not by sight… it would be much-appreciated if we could simply get some clarity on where this road is going and when we will finally get to the next checkpoint. But most of the time in life these answers are revealed to us by our Heavenly Father step by step rather than all at once. An incredibly well known bit of Scripture reminds us that He tends to light our steps, not the entire room.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.
The Hebrew word “Ner” used in this verse is interpreted as “lamp” in the English language, but it is better translated as…well.. no… it actually really does just mean lamp. And a lamp in those days was typically a candlestick on a stand or perhaps a lantern, great for illuminating small spaces but certainly not enough to see all the way down a dark road. Most of the time we would prefer that the Lord provides us with a floodlight or one of His famous “burning bushes” to light our way, but our Father typically uses this smaller cone of light to keep us leaning on Him for His guidance on each and every single step we take.
Daniel is an exceptional example of this faith walk… most of us are quite aware of his “Lion’s Den” experience, but we forget that he did not know the end of his story when he began his walk towards their enclosure. He was a victim of a political conspiracy to use his beliefs against him, and it seemed like his enemies had won. They convinced the pagan king to outlaw prayer to any deity other than himself, under penalty of death by LION. More than one lion, just in case that one particular lion wasn’t hungry. Daniel was undeterred, and openly prayed to the Creator of all things without receiving ANY guarantees from the Lord that he was lion-proof. He simply had faith that each and every step he took was governed by His Heavenly Father (Psalm 37:23), and if he was faithful in taking each step the right path would be opened to him.
When Daniel entered that den of lions, he did not know what was going to happen next. But he DID know what would have happened if he failed to pray and rely on God the way he had done each and every day of his life so far (Daniel 6:10). Even the steps that led him to the mouths of this carnivorous fate were ordered by the Lord, and an angel had already been chosen to protect him… not FROM the lion’s den, but IN it.
I would love to know where all of these things are headed with exact dates, specific times, and massive floodlights lighting everything around me. But walking with the Lord is an illumination of each step as we need to take it, not the entire journey. Even if the road we are on seems to lead us towards some unsavory battles, we have to remember that any battles that the Lord leads us into are HIS (2 Chronicles 20:15). He will never leave us or forsake us, but that also means He isn’t running ahead of us with an Olympic torch. He is walking with us hand in hand, one step at a time.
Microsoft will EVENTUALLY have to tell us when we are going to be able to buy their new system, and when they do I will be first in line to pre-order mine… AND a copy of Halo: Infinite. It may not be beautiful yet… and maybe it never will be. But I’m walking that road anyways. And in life I am not sure what the next steps the Lord has for me are… but He is always faithful to at least show me the next one if I prayerfully seek His will. And when it seems like the path leads to a cave of roaring, hungry predators… well, okay, I might pause just a little. But then I will remember that He ordered those steps as well, and if I am faithful to walk in His will then He will guide me home.
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