In the last Tangles podcast, the staff pondered about Charlotte – just who is Charlotte? And where is this story going? Episode five, thankfully, starts cluing us in about the show as a whole. While there’s yet another youth who has to be caught by the student council, the focus is less on that individual than ever as other developments occur: we continue to see how Nao suffers because of her straight-forward personality; Jojiro gives Yuu some cryptic hints about his significance; and the slow decline that many of us have expected of Ayumi has begun.
Of course, even with all these clues – and maybe even because we know more after this episode – the show remains as confusing as ever. The course of the series remains blurry; we’re still in the dark as to where it’s headed.
I was reminded this week that we all have moments like this in our own lives. Just as a viewer watching Charlotte, and even more specifically like Yuu, who remains unaware of his role in all that’s happening, we’ve all been in places in our lives where we wonder, why? Christians may even find these times to be even more difficult – why would a loving God put us through hell?
When storms come or even just moments of confusion, we may be unable to decipher the reasons. Yuu is in a strange student council led by an enigmatic girl, and sometimes wonders what his role is and why he has to do this; we, too, might ask God why we’re knee deep in problems like anxiety, relationship issues, and the such.
But we’re not alone – the Bible is littered with individuals who had to go through experiences they must have questioned before seeing the Promised Land. Peter denied Christ, but went on to become a man of remarkable faith; Job lost everything to later receive even more; and Joseph endured betrayal, imprisonment, and slavery to become a man with enough power to save thousands, including his own family. God is remarkable and able to make the impossibly good happen out of the unjustifiably bad.
As just as we, the viewers, can’t see the end of Charlotte’s road, yet, followers of Christ are privy only to seeing a bit at a time. There are going to be twists and turns in this show, certainly, and they match the wonders we’ll see in our lives. I expect Jun Maeda to give us something that defies our expectations – and in the same way, God does things to and for us that we can’t possibly expect. Because like the creators of anime, God works outside of the structure and time set in his creation – he knows where the show will end and, like the best writers, will take the story there in a masterful way, where the obvious ends up not being true, where what we hope for isn’t what we need, and where an event might mean one thing now, and a very different thing later.
And with all that can and will happen in our lives, it’s usually not for us to know our story here and now. We have to let it all play out to learn and experience what God has planned for us.
As many of us continue to watch Charlotte because we trust the work of it’s creator, Christians need to faithfully turn to their own in the midst of their stories, knowing that whatever is in store for us, it’s for our good – and God will lead us to a perfect place in the end.