Monday, March 7, 2022

Our Personal Story Arc-eus: Learning to Walk with God

(Guest Post by Tyler Q)

 ** The post below contains spoilers for Pokémon Legends: Arceus **

“Abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me” – Moses 6:34

The picture above is not a screenshot from the game Pokémon Legends: Arceus, but rather when I personally peaked in my career as a Pokémon trainer. I was so obsessed growing up that training them wasn’t enough. I had to become one for Halloween, like the Poké Kid I was.

(Quick disclaimer though: Poliwhirl was one of my favorites as a kid, but my run in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team has since declared that my spirit Pokémon is actually a Bulbasaur). 

I mean, I’ve done what I can to keep up with Pokémon throughout the years. But honestly, I have not fully played a Pokémon game since Diamond and Pearl versions. Perhaps that’s why Pokémon Legends: Arceus caught my attention, as it is set in the region that would someday become the Sinnoh region.

Now I have not had a chance to play Pokémon Legends: Arceus yet. However, some game footage from YouTube popped up in my feed. (Once again, spoiler alert – last chance to turn away). In the “true ending,” you come face to face with the majestic Pokémon, Arceus.

You actually met this Pokémon at the beginning of the game. It did not speak back then, and it does not speak to you now. Instead, you are forced into an intense encounter with it wherein you are supposed to subdue it. 

If you are successful, it submits to you and says the following:

“Thou hast done well to seek out all Pokémon. 

Unflagging devotion to a goal shalt see it through…

So hast thou proven by thine actions.

Much as that ancient hero once did. He and the Pokémon that walked beside him.

To see such truths proven anew, beyond the bounds of time and space, bringeth joy to me.

I am glad that I chose thee to call to this world

As thou walkest onward upon thine own path…

Upon thee…and upon this creation where thou now dwellest… 

I bestow my blessing.

And I bestow upon thee a part of myself.

I would walk this world together with thee.

Show me how it appeareth in thine eyes.”

You wake up in the Sinnoh temple with Arceus accompanying you, free to support you whenever you call it. With the Legend Plate in tow (the blessing it bestowed upon you), you can also have Arceus change its typing to be super effective against any other Pokémon that it faces. Kinda OP, but this “blessing” did not come without a cost.

When I said “true ending” earlier, it’s because in order to face against Arceus, you need to “Seek out all the Pokémon there are to meet.” The Pokédex in this game is only 242 Pokémon rather than the full 898. But that is still quite a feat that requires a lot of exploring and specific missions to find each one. That along with a decently difficult boss fight against Arceus shows that earning the companionship of Arceus is a lot of work. But seeing as Arceus is the God of the Pokémon world (canonically speaking, it created everything), I would expect no less.

So while Arceus has its requirements for its companionships, perhaps we can set up a comparison: What does OUR God ask in order for Him to walk with us? And what are the blessings that we receive in return?

There’s actually an entry from the Guide to the Scriptures about “Walk, Walk with God”:

“To be in harmony with God’s teachings and to live as God would have His people live; to be receptive and obedient to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.” 

This can be a bit intimidating actually. At least with the 242 Pokémon, it’s a one and done thing – catch ‘em all, then Arceus will be with you no matter what else you do in the game. However, walking with God requires a committed lifestyle. God loves all of His children, but our personal righteousness affects the degree that we allow Him to be in our lives. We see that in Ether 2:15, when God chastens the brother of Jared that “[His] Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord” (Ether 2:15). This is why obedience to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is so critical, for it’s the way taught by Christ that we may receive the fulness of His blessings – now and into the eternities. 

Our Savior asks this of us because unlike Arceus, He isn’t waiting until the endgame of our journey. He’s seeking to be with us now and forever, and our lives on earth are for us to decide if that’s what we desire. He has revealed His restored gospel so we may more fully engage with Him in this life and in the life to come. Elder George Q. Cannon shared:

“Obedience to the Gospel brings [people] into very close and intimate relationship with the Lord. It establishes a close connection between men on the earth and our Great Creator in the heavens. It brings to the human mind a feeling of perfect confidence in the Almighty and in His willingness to listen to and answer the supplications of those who trust in Him. In times of trial and difficulty this confidence is beyond price. Trouble may come upon the individual or upon the people, disaster may threaten and every human hope may seem to be overthrown, yet, where [people] have availed themselves of the privileges which obedience to the Gospel brings, they have a sure standing place; their feet are upon a rock that cannot be moved.”

Walking with God means surety in all situations because He is a sure Being. He has all power and wisdom to support us and guide us through whatever we may face. Even better than Arceus being “super effective” against any Pokémon you face, He instead empowers us to withstand or even overcome all things.

Nothing means more to me than my relationship with our Savior. I have personally seen how my closeness to Christ affects all other facets of my life. I feel brighter when I feel His Spirit with me. Even in hardship, I feel peace and assurance. I am able to learn more and become more. When I am close to Him, I better love myself and those around me. In all things and in all ways, His light fills my life – and I am happy, for this is what it feels like to walk with Him.

I believe that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and He sent His only Begotten Son to show us the way. His blessings are available to all who are willing to repent and turn to Him. When we follow Him, He will walk with us and we will receive “all that [our] Father hath”

~ Tyler M.Q.

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