When the Purpose Disrupts the Plan: Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Mary (John 19)

This one is dedicated to every Mom out there who has endured those heartbreaking sleepless nights, praying as their children grapple and struggle with finding their way into their destiny… but especially to my Mom. I love you Mom… you are the beating heart behind any good thing I have ever done. Any soul that has ever benefited from this little platform of ours was ultimately being reached by you… from every Bible verse you helped me memorize to the love you continue to show that inspires me to keep moving forward. This one is for you 🙂

Star Wars fever may be even higher now than its’ original inception, and I should know. I have been around for all of the ebbs and flows of this franchise and had the Star Wars bedsheets and underoos to prove it. Well… I mean, I don’t have them anymore, that would be weird. But suffice to say this generation is seeing a Star Wars renaissance that even the prequel and sequel trilogies couldn’t stop, and as gamers we have been getting some canonical Star Wars games that add to this bounty. Star Wars Battlefront 2 may have been released back in 2017, but thanks to a plot development in the second season of The Mandalorian a key moment from the game has thrust this title back into the limelight. Spoilers lie ahead for those who have not yet finished season 2 of The Mandalorian… and also, what have you been waiting for?

In The Mandalorian season 2, Migs Mayfield, the former Imperial soldier that turned into a mercenary, mentions “Operation: Cinder” as his personal moment of epiphany in his turn against the Empire. This is a reference to a critical military campaign that is not only shown, but actually PLAYED through in Star Wars Battlefront 2. Our primary character in Star Wars Battlefront 2, Iden Versio, was an Imperial soldier who might appear to be a traditional evil Empire villain on the surface. She was loyal to her Emperor, proudly served the Galactic Empire, and even after Palpatine’s apparent demise at the hands of Darth Vader she continued to bravely carry out the Empire’s ruthless attacks on the Rebel forces. As the primary character in the game, we get a unique view of both the Empire and the Rebellion through her eyes. But when Emperor Palpatine’s final command to execute “Operation: Cinder” puts her in a position to destroy not only her own home world, but also the Empire’s own loyal soldiers who were stationed on the planet in the process, her story as well as the game’s plot takes a dramatic turn. Finding everything that she previously believed compromised, she had a tough choice to make… continue to follow “the plan”, or fulfill her true purpose?

If there is anyone in the Bible who can relate to a MASSIVE disruption from the plan to the purpose, it is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Let’s forget what we already know about this story and try to live it from this young woman’s perspective. Mary was just minding her own business when suddenly an angel dropped this massive bomb all over her previous life plans…

Luke 1:31-33 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Sooo… that all sounds pretty exciting, right? Casting aside all of the challenges around explaining this to her fiancé Joseph, this is pretty big news. Her Son… Her Jesus… He would be the inheritor of ALL of these accolades. He would sit on a throne that had not been filled for MANY years, and He would remain the king FOREVER. Sure, there would be some hardships to endure along the way, but as a parent of this miracle Child you would HAVE to be excited about a destiny of that magnitude, right? But the angel seemed to leave out a few VERY critical details that would give any reasonable person a little bit of a pause before jumping for joy. What details, you ask? Oh, just a few tiny little details… like how her Child would not live to the age of 40. Small, inconsequential details such as the barbaric murder of her Child in front of an angry mob demanding His crucifixion. Maybe a couple things were not mentioned during this exciting moment of promise… like how her Child would become the most polarizing figure in human history, equally famous and infamous to the level that His best friends and closest followers would also slowly be hunted down and put to death over the next several decades. You know… THOSE little details. The promise sounded AMAZING, but the way the plan came together was certainly nothing that Mary could have even processed at that point, much less understood.

So let’s fast forward to the endgame… as Christ was crucified His mother finally saw the name that she was promised written above His head. A head that was wearing a crown all right… but it was a twisted crown of thorns cruelly fashioned by the very souls He came to save.

John 19:17-19 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

There it was… He was publicly proclaimed as the King. But certainly not in the way she would have ever imagined, wanted, or probably even accepted if she had a choice. The promise was fulfilled, and His destiny was indeed achieved… but this certainly did not go according to any plan that a reasonable parent would have made for their Child. And to her credit, Mary did not run away when the purpose seemingly diverged from the plan the way so many of Christ’s followers did… she remained right there, at the foot of the cross, all the way through His final breath (John 19:25). Mary had been promised so much, and here she was with a front row seat to the most important event in human history… but it was to her firstborn Son’s execution, not his coronation. This was not the PLAN… at least not the way she had probably understood it. The angel had left a lot of those details out. But it was the PURPOSE… His throne was no mere earthly seat of recognition but is an ETERNAL throne that He truly will occupy for all time. The path to get there did not conform to anything a normal, rational person would have plotted out in their high school guidance counselor’s office… but it was the only way that His actual purpose could be accomplished.

Mary’s original vision of being the mother of Jesus dramatically shifted when she realized that the Christ’s method of saving everyone was FAR different than what she had originally perceived. And similar to our eventual Star Wars heroine Iden Versio, both of their original plans may have SEEMINGLY been interrupted by a larger and much darker purpose. But it was actually THROUGH this interruption that each of their destinies came to fulfillment. Life has a funny way of coming to us with a plan that looks great in the picture on the box, but when it is time to put everything together the instruction book isn’t quite as helpful as we would hope. And as we try to piece it all together, we can often feel like we are missing some VERY important pieces (while still finding a way to have enough leftover pieces to fill a Ziplock bag).

Like Mary, many of us carry God-given dreams in our hearts for our lives that include noble and beneficial pursuits such as family, education, ministry, careers, friendships, or simply leaving our world in a better place than what we found it… but then our purpose seems to come along like a playground bully kicking down the little sand castle we were building. Like Iden, we follow this path with all of the right intentions when suddenly doors slam shut in our face, leading to shattered dreams, broken homes, damaged relationships, furloughed jobs, and half-finished pursuits. But believe it or not, it is in THAT moment that our purpose doesn’t actually diverge from the plan… it simply diverges from OUR plan. It is in THOSE moments that our purpose is at its’ most clear and pronounced position… if we can wipe our tears away long enough to see it. Through Iden’s feelings of pain, betrayal, and confusion her purpose finally became clear, and she emerged as the hero she was meant to be all along. And if we can just wipe away enough of the tears falling from Mary’s eyes at the foot of an unexpected cross, we can see that the blood dripping from her Son was the ONLY thing that would save EVERYONE who is willing to have their sins washed away, fulfilling His true purpose.

Whatever life has thrown at you right now, or whatever quagmire you have walked into of your own volition… this place you are standing in right now might not have been your plan. But that’s okay… you are in good company. Our lives may have diverged from our plans, but that doesn’t mean we have been shifted from HIS purpose. He knew where we would be right now, and we are still in a position to fulfill the destiny that He placed inside us. So don’t lose faith in His plan… even if where we are currently at right now isn’t exactly where we thought we would be. Iden had to lose the battle to win the war… and Mary had to lose her Son to see Him fulfill His destiny as not just the King of the Jews, but the King of all Kings. The Lord’s purpose for our lives may have disrupted our plans, but His plans have not changed. He will still fulfill the promises He made to us, even if it is not the way we originally imagined. He has not changed His mind about any of us, no matter what mistakes we have made… even if we were fighting on the side of the Empire for a little while. If anyone would know a little something about playing on the wrong side of the battle for a little while until the Lord’s purpose disrupted the plan, it would be the Apostle Paul. But when Paul said in Romans 11 that the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable, he was saying that to ALL of us… he was saying it to himself, he was saying it to Mary, and he was saying it to you and me.

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