Everything I Never Wanted – Xbox Series S, Prince of Persia, and the Wrong Answers to Prayer (Luke 24:13-21)

So let’s start with the GOOD news… Microsoft finally pulled the lid off of what they have been cooking and they are launching their new console family November 10th with not only the Xbox Series X console we have been hearing about for months, but also the previously unannounced Xbox Series S. And this new S model will release the same day as the Series X, but for a cool TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS less than the Series X model retailing for only $299. While I know EVERYONE will be super excited about that price point, it is important to note that this system will be lacking many features that make the Series X so special… it will have less RAM than both the Series X and the PS5, a significantly lower GPU, a lower video output, and most importantly NO disc drive and only 512GB of internal storage.

That’s correct…no disk drive at ALL and slightly more than 500GB of space. This is a purely digital console meaning the Microsoft store will be the ONLY place to purchase ANY games for it, making Microsoft the gatekeepers of the prices and the  availability of games within their own store. It would be fair to ask that if all the games are going to be digital, why is the hard drive so small?  Fortunately, that is an EASY one to answer… so we can purchase the very specific Seagate Hard Drive that the Xbox Series S and X were designed for, of course!  Now to be fair, we CAN use an alternate hard drive of our own choosing but only the specific Seagate drive that fits into the slot designed in the system will provide all of the visual enhancements that Xbox has been celebrating… running games off of our standard external hard drive will not offer those same optimization benefits.

Here's how Xbox Series X removable storage will work - The Verge

While it is certainly appreciated that Microsoft has created a MUCH lower price point to enter the next generation than any of us would have expected, this is not exactly the news I was hoping for. I am glad we finally have a date, but honestly, the Series S is pretty much NONE of the things I was looking for. And speaking of things we didn’t ask for, that’s kind of a running theme right now. Ubisoft used their recent conference to reveal a remaster of Prince of Persia Sands of Time… a game that NOBODY was asking for or even thinking about. Not even Jake Gyllenhaal. (You know, because he was in that Prince of Persia movie. Oh, you forgot about that? Lucky you.) Not Splinter Cell or maybe a new Ghost Recon…. nope… Prince of Persia. And if you are a HUGE Legend of Zelda fan I have a big surprise for you… take a guess! No, it’s not a new sequel to breath of the wild. Sorry, it’s not a remaster of ocarina of time or Majora’s mask either. NOPE! Even better… we are getting another HYRULE WARRIORS game.

I can practically hear you asking me, “How is that better”? Well, I guess that isn’t better at all, really… while many fans are probably excited to see the lore of Breath of the Wild expanded on in this prequel set 100 years earlier, this is NOT the news that Zelda fans had been hoping for. Without this year’s E3 conference, gaming news has just kind of leaked out slowly like a balloon with a hole in it instead of the big POP we are used to getting, and as we are slowly closing the door on the 2020 launch season I am thinking of all the big titles I was HOPING to hear about but still haven’t heard a peep from. Where is our Mass Effect remaster?  Or at least Knights of the Old Republic?  Jade Empire, anyone? And I am still waiting to see this Metroid Prime game that I feel like I have been waiting on forever… and while Sony has yet to respond with their release date and prices, I am already starting to worry that they won’t have much in terms of positive surprises either. I guess we will find out more this week.

Between the delays on titles like Halo Infinite, the lack of concrete info on some of our most desired releases and remasters, and now all of this valuable time and energy spent on making some consoles and games that honestly we weren’t really asking for… it just feels like we are getting everything we never asked for and very little of what we really wanted. It’s very much like what I feel many times in my personal life, when it can feel like my prayers keep getting answered in the wrong ways, as if God sent MY answer to prayer to someone else and the packages got mixed up on the UPS truck. And interestingly enough, that is exactly the issue the permeated the entire life of Christ here on earth. He was NOTHING that the people had expected or wanted, and after thousands of years of praying for their Messiah to come they failed to recognize Him when He did.

Let’s start at the end and work our way backwards, starting with the newly resurrected Jesus walking the road to Emmaus with two of His dejected followers:

Luke 24:13-21  Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”And He said to them, “What things?”So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.

They were LITERALLY speaking to the Son of God who had just finished His mission on earth, but it WASN’T what they had prayed for.  They wanted a deliverer who would overthrow the Romans and place Israel back on top as a world power… instead they got a crucified and murdered Messiah who seemed to answer none of their prayers, and instead only got their hopes up. In the interest of fairness, I can understand their confusion.  And this whole situation was still very raw for them, only three days later.  Maybe if they had time to process it they would have saw that the answer to their prayer WAS Jesus. So let’s press rewind a little further.  Let’s zip back to Luke chapter 7, when Jesus was surging in popularity after some miraculous healings including raising a widow’s son from the dead…

Luke 7:18-23 Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ ” And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard, that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

John the Baptist, the man who publicly called Jesus the Son of God in John 1:24, is now asking this SAME Jesus if He is who they are looking for. So what changed?  How does someone like John the Baptist go from being the one who literally baptized Jesus to questioning if He is even the One? Unfortunately, this is where things get very real, both for John and the rest of us.  John spent his entire life in the wilderness, preaching the coming of Christ and baptizing all who came to him. But as Jesus’s ministry grew, John’s completely flatlined as he had been arrested by King Herod for his message against sin and spent his final days wasting away in prison.  It was during this time in prison that John sent a couple of his followers to ask Jesus if He was really who he thought He was. 

The truth is, when our prayers are answered in ways that we understand and appreciate, it is EASY to believe in God and His love for us. The presence of Jesus on earth is what EVERY God-fearing person had been praying for.. for THOUSANDS of years. But Jesus didn’t save John from that prison… sadly John would be executed by the king, and any prayers he had made for release went unanswered. And He DIDN’T restore Israel to global dominance by declaring war on the Romans. He was NOTHING of the Messiah that they wanted… but He was EVERYTHING that not only THEY needed, but others as well.

Soooo, I guess now that I think about it… I shouldn’t be disappointed in these new game and hardware announcements.  I mean, they aren’t what I want, but they may be exactly what someone else was hoping for. I really don’t want an Xbox Series S… it is none of the things I was asking for from a next-generation console.  But because of it’s attractive price point it will give a WHOLE lot more people the ability to play all of the games that are coming up in the manner that THEY want to.  And maybe, just maybe, there ARE some people who really like Prince of Persia, and Hyrule Warriors, and buying extra hard drives. Well, okay, I don’t know who is getting excited about buying hard drives.  That would be kind of weird.  But the truth is that just because we are getting something that we didn’t ask for DOESN’T mean it isn’t an answer to prayer.  It may just be an answer to someone ELSE’S prayer. 

In those periods when it seems that God isn’t answering our prayers, it may be that we are looking for the wrong answer.  In the case of John the Baptist, he got exactly what He was praying for… the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world… NOT by overthrowing the Romans and building Himself a throne, but by giving His life as a ransom for all of us.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

It is my prayer that this encourages you, that even when the prayers you pray are answered differently than you had hoped, it isn’t because God isn’t listening or doesn’t care.  He cared GREATLY for the people of Israel… enough to give them the Messiah they NEEDED, not the Messiah they wanted. And this is still how He answers our prayers today.  Maybe we don’t understand the answer because we are only seeing it from our painful perspective, like John when he was in prison.  Or perhaps it is because the answer is literally standing there but we are too consumed with our problems and grief to recognize it, as we saw with the disciples on Emmaus road. But we can rest assured knowing that He hears and answers ALL of them, just not always in the way we expected.  Sometimes we may need to adjust the way we look at things, and other times we may need to ask Him to adjust our perspective.  Some things we honestly won’t understand until we get to the other side.  But keep heart and remember that ALL things, not some, but ALL , even the ones we don’t want or understand, work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to HIS purpose.

The Living... — Romans 8:28 (NKJV) - And we know that all things...

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