It is hard to believe, but E3 2021 is HERE and this is always a week of big announcements, bigger surprises, and on very special occasions a Keanu Reeves sighting. Each year we try to share our predictions (typically incorrect) as well as our most desired reveals (typically unfulfilled), but this year we want to do something a little bit different. Instead of merely making predictions of what will be announced, we are going to predict the actual impact that would occur if these predictions truly come to fruition. Confused yet? Here is an example:
Prediction: Popeye’s will reveal a spicy chicken sandwich, but replace the bun with two fluffy WAFFLES in an EPIC partnership with Waffle House.
UNINTENDED OUTCOME: For me personally, I would gain approximately 20 additional pounds on the first day. As far as global impact? Probably the first steps towards world peace, because we will all be in a glorious food coma.
So now that you know the ground rules, let’s get to some PREDICTIONS:
Prediction: Nintendo will NOT announce a new, more powerful version of their Nintendo Switch console. Mostly because we have predicted this one getting announced for the last two years and each time we look dumb. But also because the global chip shortage is having an adverse impact on hardware production.
UNINTENDED OUTCOME: Nintendo will still take all of our money, just in different ways than we thought or hoped (new colors of current Switch hardware are my guess). They have a comfortable niche as the most popular kid in school, even if they can’t run faster than the other kids or play all your old games. The “Switch Pro” or whatever we want to call it will EVENTUALLY happen, but with PS5 and Xbox Series S/X in short supply the current Nintendo Switch will still be the most accessible and affordable console on the market… and it will outsell both of it’s competitors this year, with or without a new member of the family.
Prediction: Microsoft will spend the majority of their presentation showing us games we didn’t ask for… like some weird Minecraft spin-offs and a new Elder Scrolls/Tetris hybrid game that requires us to carefully stack blocks while avoiding classic enemies such as “horse armor micro-transactions” and “broken side-quests”. Downloadable on Game Pass day one, of course. Then, with five seconds left in their presentation they will show us a glimpse of Halo and Fable, coming 2021 and 2022 respectively.
UNINTENDED OUTCOME: Microsoft will waste a bunch of time and money to remind us that they spent a LOT of money buying other studios… but most of those games are not coming anytime soon. Microsoft is playing the long game this console cycle… and without anything new and shiny to captivate gamers, this year will belong fully to Nintendo and Sony. The future will be bright, and Xbox fans should look to 2022 with anticipation even as they concede 2021 to their rivals.
Prediction: Blockbuster titles will be conspicuous by their absence as new entries from franchises such as Metroid, Grand Theft Auto, Fallout, and Elder Scrolls are no-shows… with their respective studios parading a line-up of “Director’s Cuts”, “Remasters”, and “Optimized for PS5 and Xbox Series S/X” titles to satisfy gamer’s appetites this year, while promising “more to come in the future”.
UNINTENDED OUTCOME: This year will be dominated by “Safe” software titles such as the next titles in the Call of Duty, Battlefield, Madden, and NBA2K franchises. With so little hardware available for purchase, any gaming studio with a high-risk title will wait until a larger audience is available to give them a chance. Next year, we will get the fun stuff. This year, it will be Ol’ Reliable all day, every day.
It is certainly fun to guess not only what is going to happen next in the world of video games, but also hypothesize about the unintended outcomes these decisions would make on the gaming ecosystem short and long-term. I mean, who would have predicted years ago that the unsuccessful Nintendo WiiU would eventually inspire the breakout success of the Nintendo Switch platform? Or who would have considered that the fervent praise of an adoring fanbase that erupted when Keanu Reeves appeared to hype CyberPunk 2077 would turn into a mob of dissatisfied gamers demanding a refund when the game actually released? The good, the bad, and even the ugly E3 moments rarely end with the result that we thought they would. Even the best of intentions can come with an impact that we would never have anticipated, and that is true in our real world just as it is in the world of video games.
We are all probably familiar with the phrase “Be careful what you wish for” due to outcomes and ramifications often existing beyond our current point of view… but to find out that this principle can also apply to our prayers seems almost sacrilegious. But as we will find out, “Divine interruption” as an answer to our prayers can be disruptive in ways that we may not always have predicted either…
John 5:1-6 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
Now on the surface, that is a pretty odd question for Jesus to ask. This guy has suffered for THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS. It would seem abundantly clear that this man would want to be made well… I mean, after all, why else would he be there? But there is more to the question “Do you WANT to be made well”” than meets the eye. First, let’s consider the obvious. This would represent a completely life-altering event for this man… every time Jesus healed someone who was blind, paralyzed, or suffering He changed EVERYTHING about their life. Think about it… their entire IDENTITY was defined by their disability or disease. We don’t even find out this person’s name… he is simply identified as “the sick man”. He clearly needs a better talent agent. But the intersection of this man’s need and Christ’s power to change his situation didn’t just alter his medical status… it immediately put this man at odds with the established religious hierarchy because the healing instructions he received didn’t fit within their parameters.
John 5:7-11 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”
The guy is literally minutes into his new life and he has already got pulled over by the religious gatekeepers of the day. And it can get even worse….in the case of the man born blind that was healed by Christ, his miraculous healing resulted in a not-so-miraculous excommunication from his faith.
John 9:10-11 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”
John 9:24-34 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.
And believe it or not… it can get even worse. You may recall the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11), the friend of Jesus who passed away and was dramatically returned to life. The prayers of Lazarus’s sisters were gloriously answered, Lazarus returned to life, the birds started signing and cheerful background music began to play… and then the murder plot started. Wait… WHAT? Yep… the guy who was JUST given a new lease on life immediately became a target for assassination because of what this answered prayer represented…
John 12:9-11 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
When the Lord answers a prayer in our life, this action often prompts an equal and opposite reaction. Those who previously pitied us may now seek to destroy us. Those who accepted us when we were broken may not always receive us once we have been made whole. Our primary benefactors may reverse roles and become our fiercest adversaries, and those who previously complimented us for our courage often become our harshest critics. The active presence of the Lord in our life will prompt the EXACT same reaction that His physical presence on this planet did the first time… the same Light that drew people to follow Him also drove others to kill Him.
He is still the God who answers prayer… but He asks the same question to us today that He asked two thousand years ago… “Do you want to be made well?”. Are we prepared for the onslaught of changes that this answered prayer may represent… the way our life will be altered forever in ways that we cannot fully comprehend? Are we prepared for some of our friends to become rivals, our safe spaces to be invaded, and our previous anonymity to be removed? Are we ready for the enemy to paint a target on our back now that we represent a threat to his false narrative, existing as a physical representation of the power and goodness of the one true God? The Lord loves answering the prayers of His people, but He also sees that the answer to our prayer will permeate our life and transform it far beyond the ways that we anticipated.
Whatever that unanswered prayer is that you have lifted up to Him…I am going to ask you to look inside one last time and decide if you truly WANT the answer that you are seeking. Talk to Him and let Him reveal all of the unexpected changes and unintended outcomes this answered prayer will generate. And when He gently asks us in our heart, “Do you want Me to make you whole?”… answer Him honestly. Many times He is not withholding an answer because He can’t or won’t answer our prayer… He is waiting for us to answer this simple yet life-altering question. Are we ready for an undeniable, dimension changing, all-encompassing life event to occur when He enters our world and speaks life into a previously dead situation? When Christ enters a situation, there is no middle-ground for those who are observing it. All are changed by His presence… some for the better, some for the worse. His Divine answer to our prayers will ignite a fire that consumes what doesn’t belong and purifies what remains. His Light will illuminate all the areas of the room He is in, not just the part we are pointing at. It will change far more than we realize as every thought, every habit, and every relationship we have will be forced to adjust to this new paradigm. As hard as it can be to read these verses, His presence and answer to your prayer will create unintended drama even from sources we would not have expected…
Luke 12:51-53 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
As we create our E3 2021 wish lists and eagerly anticipate what we think should happen this year in the gaming industry, it is important to remember that every decision made (as well as those that are NOT made) over the next few days may create huge, unintended ripples that we may not fully understand for many years… until their impact is made completely clear. And as we lift our prayers to the throne room of God, remember that His eye sees each and every way that our request will impact our lives and the lives of others. And if we tune our ears to His voice, we will hear Him asking, “Do you want me to do this?”… are we truly prepared to take up that uncomfortable but familiar bed of pain and walk, knowing that it will open us up to the criticism and judgment of others? Are we ready to come forth out of the peace and quiet of the tomb and become a target for the enemy as soon as we get outside? Are we ready to be made whole, to change the narrative in our life from a “broken vessel” to a living, breathing, walking answer to prayer?
I want to encourage you to push through the discomfort, the fear, the worry, and the pain of the change… His answer to your prayer WILL be disruptive. Count on it. If our prayer has not been answered yet, perhaps there is an outcome that we not have fully anticipated that we must understand and accept before it comes. And if it feels like our joy at an answered prayer is not warmly received by all who we thought it would be, don’t take it personally. It is not revealing what people think about you… it is revealing what they believe about HIM. And if we truly want the answers to our prayers, the wisdom to see the repercussions, and the strength to endure these changes, the answer is not in merely seeking a response to our requests… but in seeking and finding Christ for the answers to the questions we didn’t think to ask.
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