Super Mario 3D World and a Second Touch: When the Mountain Doesn’t Move (Part Three – Mark 8:22-25)

If you didn’t get a chance to play Super Mario 3D World in its’ original incarnation, then you clearly did not own one of the 20 Nintendo WiiU systems that were purchased around the world during it’s five year run as Nintendo’s flagship console. Fine… maybe 20 is a bit low, but suffice to say the Nintendo WiiU is basically the equivalent of one lonely slice of pickle buried in the Big Mac of Nintendo’s massive success sandwich, the original Wii and the current Nintendo Switch. Perhaps it was it’s massive similarity in both name and concept to it’s predecessor, the landmark Nintendo Wii console. Or maybe it was a little too far ahead of it’s time, as the tablet controller concept pioneered on the WiiU was the clear prototype for the massive success of the Nintendo Switch. Or maybe it was this guy’s fault… we may never know.

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The unfortunate story of the WiiU is that it was home to many of the BEST original titles that Nintendo has released over the past decade… and that is why SO many of them are getting a second chance to live on the Nintendo Switch. Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong’s Tropical Freeze, Pikmin 3, and now the upcoming Super Mario World 3D… title after title of excellent but undiscovered games are getting a second chance to live on the Nintendo Switch, and in the case of Super Mario World 3D we are even getting additional content with the Bowser’s Fury expansion. The Nintendo Switch has become the perfect place for many of these under-appreciated WiiU gems to finally get the opportunity to shine in front of an appreciative audience, and while some may dismiss these re-releases as a “cash-grab” for Nintendo, the truth is that in the world we live in today it is rare that even the most deserving ideas get a second chance at life.

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Second chances are uncommon for a reason… most often it is because the failure of the original opportunity is an indication that the concept is fatally flawed at its’ most fundamental level. But as we see with Super Mario World 3D, that is not always the case. This title CLEARLY deserves to be played by an adoring fanbase who missed out on it the first time. I mean… LOOK at this game. You get to be Mario… and Peach… and Luigi…. and Toad… all at the same time… as CATS. You know… climbing and jumping around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree. What’s not to love?

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Over the past two weeks we have looked at why the mountains that we face don’t always move when and where we want them to… you can find those previous articles here if you want to get caught up on the journey…

But what happens when the mountain moves… but only a little bit? When you get PART of what you prayed for, but the full victory you were seeking is still not present? Maybe you got the job interview you prayed for, but the position isn’t the one you wanted. Perhaps you received some relief from a sickness, pain, or other ailment but you are not 100% restored to your previous healthy status. You prayed for the money to cover the overdue electric bill, but all you got was enough to cover the minimum payment, not the entire amount owed. I have been in ALL THREE of these situations as well as a wealth of other similar circumstances, and I have found that the only thing that can come close to matching the frustration of an unanswered prayer is a PARTIALLY answered prayer. And there is a precedent for this “slightly shifted” mountain experience in the Bible… more specifically it was Jesus Christ Himself who was in this position personally. Let’s take a closer look…

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Mark 8:22-25 Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.  Then He sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”

What a curious story… while there is certainly a precedent for Jesus being hindered in His miraculous works by a lack of faith around Him (Mark 6:5), there is no indication that this is the issue here. As a matter of fact, Christ was usually very direct in challenging those around Him to demonstrate a level of faith prior to receiving healing (Matthew 9:28). When the first touch of healing was incomplete, Jesus didn’t blame the recipient. He didn’t say to the blind man, “Well, you used a 50% off with minimal faith coupon, so you only get a partial miracle. Don’t use Groupon next time.” Jesus didn’t make any comment about the blind man at all… He simply asked Him if he could see anything. And THIS is where the blind man had to make a choice… to either accept this partial miracle as “good enough”, or to be bold enough to be honest and wait for that “second touch”.

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Seeing partially was already a pretty massive miracle… to go from blindness to any level of sight is still a life-changing situation for this man. It would have been easy for him to answer vaguely and say, “Yes, I can see now. Thank you Jesus, this is fantastic. I’m satisfied with what You have already done. I’ll leave you a five-star review”. And sadly, many of us do this more often than we realize, ending our pursuit of the full answer to our prayers as soon as the first down payment hits. As followers of Christ we serve the all-powerful, all-knowing, omni-present Creator of the universe, and yet as soon as our mountain shifts just enough to take the edge off of our situation many times we stop praying and accept that partial victory as a sufficient answer to our prayer.

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Jesus had healed MANY blind people prior to his interaction with this man… and at no time did He demonstrate a previous problem where all of his healings just resulted in people looking like trees. It’s a great look for Lord of the Rings, but it just isn’t very practical. Christ’s power and His willingness to heal this man were not the issue, nor was there an issue with this man’s faith… this was simply a two-part miracle. Similar to what we are seeing with the second release of Super Mario World 3D, the first release was fantastic and one of the quintessential WiiU experiences. But there are MILLIONS of people who never got to experience this game, and now with a broader audience and a larger console install base Mario 3D World will finally get to dance on a grand stage where all 68 million (and climbing) Switch owners can finally enjoy it.

If the blind man had dipped out after phase one of his answered prayer, he would have settled for an improved view of a mountain that still had not truly MOVED. And so it is with us… whatever you have been seeking God for, whatever your unanswered prayer is… NEVER stop seeking full deliverance simply because the first installment of your answer to prayer appeared. There is a bigger, better, FULLER answer to your prayer. God didn’t promise to merely SHIFT our mountains… He promised to MOVE them. If we get so excited at the first landslide of rocks that we just thank Him and move on, we will never see the fullness of all that He planned to do for us. As we saw with the persistent widow last week, He is a rewarder of those who DILIGENTLY seek Him. He is looking to see if we will press forward for ALL that He has to give, or settle for just a bite.

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How much of God do we really want? And how little will we settle for? Next week we will look at our mountains a little more closely because they are not always what they seem, but as we wrap this one up here is a final thought. Luke 11:9-10 is a very well known piece of Scripture in which Christ tells us to “Ask and it will be given to you, Seek and you will find, Knock and the door will be opened to you.” Why all three of these? Why not just “Ask and it will be done for you”? Because not every prayer is going to be answered that simply. Sometimes we get what we ask for from the Lord with a simple prayer of faith… and sometimes we have to seek Him a little bit more. Sometimes after asking AND seeking we find ourselves in front of a locked door that is blocking our path. At any point along this journey that we choose to stop, we will leave with a lovely selection of parting gifts and all the prizes we have already won, but not the FULL VICTORY that lies on the other side of that door. We will still be surrounded by “tree people”. But if we press on for that second, third, or however many “touches” it will take before our full prayer is answered, He WILL open that door.

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It took over SEVEN YEARS for Super Mario 3D World to finally get that second touch, but it will be well worth it when everyone who missed out the first time finally gets to see what all the fuss was about. Hopefully He doesn’t make you wait seven years in between touches for your miracle… truth be told I am just now seeing the full answers to some of my prayers that were MANY YEARS in the making. But He has been faithful to His promises and He has never failed to move a mountain that He promised to move… as long as we are determined not to settle for less than His very best.

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