When I think about one of the most popular characters in all of anime, Goku from Dragon Ball, the image that comes to my mind is a smile. No matter what is going on, often times he is happy about something even if the situation is dire. Dragon Ball is not an anime that is about sunshine and rainbows. In most episodes, there isn’t much to be smiling about, but here comes Goku, the strongest fighter in the universe and grinning ear to ear. His positive and uplifting attitude is a breath of fresh air when all hope seems lost. When all the Z fighters are down and out, he comes to rescue them with an otherworldly determination.
Now, don’t take Goku for some weak, happy-go-lucky character who isn’t focused. Though he may be clueless most of the time, he does understand that his power is what’s needed to save the day. He trains hard with the best teachers he can find (in this world and the afterlife!) to hone his skill and be the greatest fighter. Often, people with so much power become overconfident and egotistical, but Goku’s humility and determination don’t allow that to happen. He is honest and tries not to fight if possible. Rather than landing blows at the beginning of battle, he dialogues with the foe and reasons with them.
He is always compassionately trying to avoid battle. Goku, though more powerful than anyone in the world, carries with him an aura of joy. That classic smile of his is what gives peace to his friends, letting them know that he’s in control even if the world is about to end. Even when Perfect Cell (an enemy in the DBZ series) inflates like a balloon and is going to explode, thus destroying Earth, Goku teleports him to another planet while smiling at his son. He sacrifices himself knowing that his family, loved ones, and planet are safe through his actions. Where does all this happiness come from, though? Everyday can’t be all magical and wonderful. Sometimes everything just goes wrong, we make mistakes (though we don’t like to admit it), or life gives us lemons and we lost the lemonade machine.
For me, that source of joy and peace has been God ever since I first knew Him at 17 years of age.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. —Galatians 5:22
The above verse mentions all the fruit from the Holy Spirit. He is God and part of the Trinity, and those who receive the Spirit and follow him foster these characteristics, with this help. Nobody is perfect, and we all mess up or have bad days, but the fruit of the Spirit should be reflections of true belief in Christ. It bothers me and even makes me doubt someone’s faith when I encounter angry, bitter, and hateful people who say they are Christians.
My point in mentioning that is to explain how Goku’s peace comes from his family, friends, and other causes, but when ours comes from the Most High, then it’s everlasting. Goku has times where he makes it late to help his friends and some are dead or dying. There have also been moments where he just isn’t strong enough and cannot save everyone, which makes him doubt his strength. His joy is taken away and anger takes over completely, which is actually how he transformed into a Super Saiyan. One of Goku’s best friends, Krilliin, was killed at the hands of Frieza on Planet Namek where the battle took place. After seeing that tragedy, he erupted in rage, and the timeless golden hair and green eyes appeared. To avoid that happening again, he is constantly training to overcome his limits.
Eventually, people let us down or hurt us, and our own strength and joy fail, like Goku’s did, but God never does. I’ve been through moments in my life where I’ve had to deal with some nasty people at work, church, or even in my own family and have had my energy completely drained. I have to go to that source of joy and drink once again, to renew myself.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13
How does that work though? How does one receive vitality, joy, and peace from God? For me, it can come from one or more of these practical applications. First, you can go somewhere quiet or alone and pray. If you are not sure how to pray, it’s simple because it’s just talking to God (but you can reference Jesus’ example of prayer in Matthew 6:5-15). Pour your heart out to Him, tell Him what you’re feeling at that moment, and be honest. Second, take some time to relax and enjoy His presence. This can be done by reading the Bible, listening to worship, or soaking in music (type any of those two terms in a search engine to find some options) and just listening for His voice. When we tune out all the noise in our lives, it’s surprising how much we have missed God because we weren’t listening (for more on the topic, see Galatians 5:16, John 15:1-8)
Goku is always drawing from inside himself and others for strength, but in reality we all know that eventually that runs its course. When we encounter a problem that no inspirational image, quote, or chat with friends can take away, we’ve reached the end of ourselves. The joy from the Spirit keeps our batteries charged, puts us back in the race to continue going forward. Otherwise, fear, anger, and depression drag us into the past and don’t let go. I pray that you will be released into your destiny and set free from all that holds you back in Jesus name.