Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Monday, October 11, 2004

"Two Brothers" and Adversity

Last night Yoko, Sachi and I went to see a movie called “Two Brothers” (official website) about two tiger cubs, Kumal and Sangha. Although we didn’t like a lot of the human vs. animal tension, as Yoko and I were heading to sleep she mentioned her favorite part of the movie, and then God stepped in with His smile…

**Spoiler Warning** If you haven’t see the movie and would not like to know major plot details yet, you might not want to read further.

Kumal and Sangha’s are happy jungle tiger cubs when they become separated from their parents and from each other by artifact looters raiding ancient temples. Separately they make bonds with two kind people (a boy and a hunter), but then are separated and sent to live among people who try to harden them for sport and for show. Kumal is cruelly beaten at the circus so that he will jump through rings of fire. Sangha is kept underground and taunted so that he will become a fighting tiger for the prince’s amusement.

A year later the tigers are larger and the prince wants to pit his tiger against another. Kumal is selected from the local circus and the brothers are set to fight against each other. However, after a little fighting, the brothers recognize each other and viciousness turns into hilarious playfulness. The prince’s aides are not amused and try to egg the tigers on to make them fight, but this results in the tigers escaping instead. Ironically, the panicking spectators take refuge from the tigers in the prison-like arena where they tigers had been fighting.

It’s here in the story that Yoko’s favorite moment comes. As Kumal and Sangha are leaving the arena, Kumal instinctively heads back to the circus cage that has become home to him and climbs in. Sangha starts to head away to freedom but stops and looks back. After a moment, Kumal gets out of the cage and follows his brother to freedom.

You know, that’s just like us, isn’t it? God uses us to set each other free the same way. We’re raised with different captivities… we believe lies of unworthiness, we think we are ugly or incompetent. We think no one will love us and we are not loveable. We meet God and experience deliverance, but when freedom comes we often don’t know what to do, so we head back to the cage we’ve grown up in. God stops and says, “Hey, you don’t have to stay in that cage… it’s not your home anymore. Come journey with Me and live the adventure of freedom.” And He faithfully sends us brothers and sisters who will remind us when we climb back into our old cages and wait for us to follow the smell of uncertain adventure.

We also loved a moment near the end when Sangha is helped by Kumal. After their escape, the brother tigers run all over town terrorizing residents and selling newspapers, but not harming anyone. The hunter is called to kill them before they start hurting people. He and his assistants trap the tigers in a field by setting the outer boundary of it aflame, save for one opening where the hunter lies in wait. The brothers are trapped but see the glint of the hunter’s binoculars at the one fire-less opening. It is then that Kumal remembers the circus and jumps fearlessly through the flames. His brother Sangha is naturally afraid of the fire and stays in the trapped area. Kumal jumps back through the fire to show him that he is all right. Then Kumal exits again by leaping through the flames, and this time Sangha gets up and follows Kumal through the flames to permanent freedom and reunion with their mother.

This is also just like us, isn’t it? Often we don’t know why trials and adversities come. We have hardships and we blame each other, ourselves, and we blame God. We can become bitter and spend the rest of our lives spiteful. I don’t know how to explain it, but often I think God allows bad things to happen to us because He loves us and knows that there is a ring of fire in our future that will try to kill us. Kumal endured cruel beatings from the circus trainers so that he would jump through fire. When he is older and in greater danger, though, his training saves his life and his brother’s.

Often we go through cruel beatings in life, usually very early on. But God has not left us alone, and if we will trust Him and give up our bitterness by repentance and forgiveness, He will show us His redemption of every single bad thing in our lives. And not only that, but as we surrender to His redemption of every pain in our lives, He will use us to help others jump through the flames to His adventurous freedom.

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (Proverbs 17:7 NIV)

If we will let Him, God will turns the tables on the enemy every time, and like Joseph said, what others meant for evil God turns into good. The cross seemed to be the Messiah’s greatest defeat, but was the greatest victory in all time. We can’t always see how it’s going to work out, and knowing that He does these things will not ease the tearing pains that happen when we experience loss. But He is always there, and He Himself wants to be our assurance. He has joy, good things and a reunion with Himself planned for us, even through the flames.

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

"Because I live, you also will live." (John 14:19)


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