The Battlefield franchise is finally back in the news, but for all of the wrong reasons… over 200,000 of them and growing at the time of this writing. No, that number doesn’t represent the number of bugs still present in the game (although it may not be far off). That is the number of customers seeking a refund after purchasing this ambitious but severely flawed title that still lacks some basic standard features such as in-game voice chat with your squad mates. While EA has not chosen to make a refund announcement similar to the eventual outcome from CD Projekt Red’s disastrous CyberPunk 2077 launch, the prognosis here doesn’t sound promising. In an already highly competitive environment that is currently saturated with quality “shooters” such as Halo Infinite, Call of Duty, Fortnite, Apex, Overwatch and the like, there is simply no room in the market for a game that remains essentially too broken to properly enjoy even months after its’ release. Battlefield may have one of the most incredibly loyal fanbases on the planet, but the numbers never lie… and according to the numbers from Steam only an average of 4,000 players are still playing this title at any given time. There is a very wise and ancient proverb that states “don’t hate the player, hate the game”. Well, the good news is that people aren’t hating the players… the bad news is that they are ABSOLUTELY hating this GAME.
So, what went wrong? In a recent town hall EA seemed to point their fingers at everything from developing this title on a new game engine, development issues related to the pandemic, over-confidence in their ability to squash bugs in real-time, and the impact of the exceptionally polished release of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer during the same launch window. But if we are being fair, EVERY game developer struggled with many of these exact same challenges, and they still released games that, you know… WORKED. The difference is that each development studio approached their decision to overcome these challenges differently, and as a result reached their finish line more successfully. For example, Halo Infinite was infamously delayed after a disappointing debut demonstrated the need to revamp their lackluster visuals… and while they missed their originally planned launch window, the result was an outstanding game that has completely restored faith in the Halo franchise. Call of Duty seems to be moving towards the “games as service” concept with their free-to-play Warzone rapidly taking the top priority for a team that had never attempted this gaming model, and the exceptional results speak for themselves. Battlefield? Well, players hungry for the unique experience of a massively multiplayer online experience from EA will have to wait for them to figure out exactly who they are, what they are doing, and when they can actually deliver on their promises.
The Battlefield franchise has always had a special place in my heart, tending to “zig” every time the bigger and over-produced Call of Duty series would “zag”. And as the perpetually beloved underdog in the eternal struggle for the FPS market, I truly hoped the release of Battlefield 2042 would finally level the playing field for them in this new console generation and perhaps even set them apart from their competition. Well, they are definitely light years apart from their peers… but in all the wrong ways. All of the big dreams and well-meaning promises from EA sounded good during their announcements, and I am sure they intended to fulfill all of them. Nobody WANTS to release a broken game, and certainly nobody is benefiting from this massive disappointment. But as the esteemed (and fictional) genius Ian Malcom explained when highlighting the folly of building the very first Jurassic Park, just because we believe we CAN do something doesn’t mean we SHOULD. We can all learn a very valuable lesson from this Battlefield’s troubled release that can help us understand some of the disappointments in our own lives… just because something sounds like a great idea doesn’t mean it is the right time to do it, and even when our heart is in the right place it does not mean that this particular battlefield is OUR mission to complete.
Many well-meaning followers of Christ (myself included) have come face-to-face with our own broken “battlefield” experiences. We feel a burning desire to complete a mission for the Lord, we receive some encouragement from our well-meaning family and friends that seems to confirm our direction, we march out into the battle with a head full of dreams and a heart full of joy… and then we are promptly met with crushing disappointment as chaos immediately erupts around us and our hopeful visons rapidly devolve into a struggle to simply survive. In these painful moments our passion is replaced with some very real and challenging questions… why didn’t this work out? All I wanted to do was serve the Lord, and I was rewarded with an embarrassing failure that now has me questioning more than just this mission. Did I mishear God? Have I misinterpreted EVERYTHING? These are tough questions… and they call for some honest answers.
King David was no stranger to having his good intentions backfire into some massive setbacks… just take a look at the time David decided to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem without following the very specific travel requirements for this holy relic in 1 Chronicles 13. We wrote about this previously in the article below, but the short version is that it went horribly wrong resulting in one person’s death and a massive delay to the festivities. David’s heart was in the right place, but his method of accomplishing it was all wrong… and the Lord cannot bless even our best intentions when they are not aligned with His clearly established will.
But in 1 Chronicles 17 we find a VERY different story… this same King David is now older, wiser, and has another big dream in his heart to achieve for the glory of God. David was enjoying a peaceful day in his house when he realized something that disturbed his peace… the Lord had been so amazing to David in providing him with both a home and a throne, but David had not fully returned the favor. David felt the compelling need to build a place of worship for the Lord, and after conferring with the prophet Nathan he even seemed to get the good ol’ thumbs up message…
1 Chronicles 17:1-2 Now it came to pass, when David was dwelling in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under tent curtains.” Then Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.”
Looks like all systems are go for David to build a temple for the Lord… David had the desire to do a good work for God, he possessed the means to do it, and even received a word of encouragement from a very reliable servant of God. It was a worthy mission from a pure heart… what could go wrong? Let’s take a look…
1 Chronicles 17:3-4 But it happened that night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “You shall not build Me a house to dwell in.
1 Chronicles 17:11-12 And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever.
Ouch, that had to be disappointing. David’s heart told him that a temple needed to be built for the Lord, and a temple would indeed be built… but not by David, and not even in David’s lifetime. David’s role was to be the conquering king who would bring peace to the land (as evidenced by his continuing conquests in the following chapter), and it would be his son Solomon who would carry the privilege and responsibility for this particular “battlefield”. The mission of building the temple was the RIGHT theater of war, but it was not for David’s hands to complete, nor was it meant to be completed at this particular time. To his credit, David did what the developers behind Battlefield 2042 chose NOT to do… he accepted that this was neither the time nor the place for him to proceed. The dream was right, but it had to be aligned with the Father’s will for both David AND his son Solomon, the one who was chosen to carry this particular torch. David accepted this disappointing news and turned his attention to providing a foundation for his son to fulfill this destiny… and if Battlefield 2042 would have done the same thing, we might be praising their restraint and decision to refine their game engine instead of trying to score a refund as a result of their hubris.
1 Chronicles 22:5-11 Now David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it.” So David made abundant preparations before his death. Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord God of Israel. And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the Lord my God; but the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ Now, my son, may the Lord be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the Lord your God, as He has said to you.
David would still serve a role in building the temple of the Lord, and God continued to bless David’s efforts as long as David remained aligned with His will. David could have allowed himself to be crushed by this dream-shattering news, and as a result decided that he didn’t want to do this anymore. Or worse, he could have simply decided to yell “I’m LEEEEERROOOOOY JENKINS” and charged in guns blazing, and this would have all ended in a Battlefield 2042 caliber disaster. (If you are not up on your “Leeroy Jenkins” references, you are missing out on the best thing that has ever happened in the history of video games, and you should probably remedy that.) Zeal for the Lord is a wonderful thing, and as followers of Christ we are all responsible for applying “feet to our faith”. But as Battlefield 2042 found out the hard way, blindly following our heart (regardless of our good intentions) is an exercise in self-deception and only results in massive disappointment (Jeremiah 17:9). And as I have observed too many times in my own life, even righteous passion that is not governed by the Lord’s guidance and powered by the Lord’s provision only results in disillusionment and heartbreak.
If you have followed a calling in your heart and been dealt with crippling setbacks that have made you question more than simply your mission, you are not alone. To be fair, the presence of conflict is not always an indication that we have pursued the wrong path. Sometimes the Apostle Paul went exactly where God told him to go and things STILL went horribly wrong (Acts 14:1-20), and other times Paul tried to go places and was actively prevented by the Lord because it was the wrong place and time (Acts 16:6-10). Like David, we will all feel callings in our heart to serve the Lord at various times of our lives… but even if we are choosing the correct mission, it may not be the right TIME. Battlefield 2042 did not struggle because of its’ futuristic war setting… it simply wasn’t ready to launch. There may also be times where our heart is in the right place, but similar to David it may not be a dream we are meant to complete on our own… we may be responsible for preparing a foundation that others are meant to build on. I think we can all agree that the updated Frostbite engine that powers Battlefield 2042 has a lot of potential, but it is clearly a foundation designed to make better games in the FUTURE, not in its’ present form.
As the body of Christ, we are all designed to work TOGETHER… and some parts of the body do not serve their full purpose until the rest of the body has reached the correct time and maturity in their development to support that function. While it is true that the Bible says that when we delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us the desires of our heart, there is more to that passage… we must also commit our WAY to Him for these dreams to come to pass. Perhaps our dream has fizzled and shaken our confidence, making us question everything from our relationship with Christ to His benevolence towards us. I hope this encourages you that whatever “Battlefield setback” we are currently enduring, this troubled time is NOT the final part of our campaign. Perhaps the mission that is burning in our heart is the CORRECT mission, but the point that we pursued it was simply not the right time. Maybe there are fellow dreamers who are critical components of this same mission, but they are not yet at the maturity level to share this battlefield with us. I hope Battlefield bounces back and realizes that we all want and need this franchise to be successful… but they have to finish laying the foundation of their game engine before they attempt to release another game using this same platform. And in our lives, don’t lose heart when the Lord responds with a “No” or a “Not yet”… His timing is perfect, and His way is the ONLY way. It is only in the place where we fully submit our heart and all of its’ passions to Him and His plan that we will see those God-given desires come to pass… in the exact way, at the perfect time, and with the support of everyone they are designed to be accomplished with.
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