Today, we’re excited to share a guest post from Kendall Lyons, a longtime BtT community member. Kendall is a minister, cartoonist, author, and, of course, anime fan. When you’ve finished this article, be sure to check out his website for more writings (and his cartoons!). Kendall can also be found on Twitter, so be sure to connect with him there (@CartoonDaily1).
What has God done for me? What has Jesus done for me? He took away the darkness that was within me! He is the great teacher and master that never held back anything from me. He saw me at my place of peril and destruction. He chose me because He knew I was filled with a lot of bitterness, anger, malice, hatred and vengefulness and He wanted to set me free.
He loves me. And He loves you.
Lyon and Gray from the series Fairy Tail were caught up in their own struggles as it related to meeting a great teacher, someone they struggled with trusting and following without fail.
In the 15th episode of Fairy Tail, “Eternal Magic,” Gray is walking the audience through his past and how he met Lyon and what happened to his teacher, Ur. Gray tells the story of how the demon Deliora wiped out his town and killed his family when he was just a boy. Gray was under a pile of rubble when Ur and her student, Lyon, found him. Gray vowed to seek his revenge against the demon that destroyed everything he knew and loved.
I’ll Do It Myself
As the long flashback shows, the events of Gray’s past did a number on him. You can tell in his eyes and in his demeanor as a boy. Then again, he just lost his home and his family. He is bitter and not very patient. He’s not happy. He’s also cynical. He also assumes that Ur, even in all of her sharing of her skills as a user of magic, is holding out on him.
Ur is still a good teacher, but Gray is hurt and hurting. He continues to miss the point that Ur is actually loving him fully and teaching him everything she knows. But the condition of his heart causes him to declare Ur’s services “not enough!”
Gray is determined to learn the “powerful stuff!” He wants to have the kind of power that is necessary to defeat Deliora all by himself.
The Dream to Surpass the Master
Lyon has his own aspiration: to surpass Ur, his teacher. On the surface, this may sound innocent, but it’s skewed. His desire to surpass Ur actually doesn’t come from a desire to be better, but pride!
Lyon is only focused on himself, and when he focuses on Ur (which bothers Gray a bit), it almost always turns into a desire to be better than her rather than experience greatness from and with her.
It is his dream to surpass Ur, but Ur’s dream for Lyon and Gray is much greater than that.
Are You My Disciple?
Later in the episode, Gray leaves Ur’s home and walks out into a blizzard. Ur warns Gray that “if you leave, you are no longer my student.” As Gray walks away, he declares that if he dies it will be all Ur’s fault because she didn’t teach him a more powerful form of magic.
Going on his own, Gray tries to take out Deliora, only to fail miserably and nearly get himself killed. But Ur comes right on time and helps him out.
Lyon sees that Ur is going to try and defeat Deliora but mistakenly assumes that Ur will not give it her all. Lyon attempts to use a spell that Ur had no intention of letting him know about, but she stops Lyon before he completes it. Ur freezes Lyon temporarily to keep him from killing himself and goes before Gray to defeat Deliora.
Ur defeats Deliora by sacrificing her life.
Gray begs and pleads for her not to sacrifice herself for them. Before dying, she gives Gray her final words of encouragement to live fully and to be happy and to know that she did this so he would no longer live in darkness. Ur also asks Gray to tell Lyon she died, because she knows he would spend the rest of his life trying to get her back.
Gray feels the darkness leave him. A new life for him will begin. To be honest, I think that Gray realizes how much Ur loved him and Lyon.
Once Ur disappears and Deliora is frozen in the ice, everything appears to be over. Apart from the silence, we hear Ur weeping. Lyon finally unfreezes and sees that Deliora has been frozen. He’s told that Ur is dead, causing Lyon to be angry and upset. At that moment, he blames Gray for killing Ur… thereby killing his dream of ever surpassing her.
This is the origin of Gray and Lyon’s paths in life: one of good and one of evil.
How Are We Interpreting Life?
Apart from the use of magic in the series, which I don’t condone, I want you as a viewer and as someone who may or may not be a believer to consider a few things within this episode. So, if you would, take a walk with me.
For the longest time, I interpreted a lot of life from the wounds of my past. I was often bullied and completely misunderstood, and I carried a kind of skepticism and cynicism about people, life and my identity.
I grew up in the church, but it would be a few years later that I would come to know God and His Son for who they REALLY are. God saw through my skeptical and cynical demeanor and has been investing in me since boyhood, regardless of the abuse and challenges that I encountered. I also have learned recently that God was training me in my areas of interest and in my passions from my childhood on into adulthood, much like Ur was training Gray. I didn’t think too much of it, but God was showing me that with what He gave me and what He placed in my heart, I can become so much more.
As a boy, I had a great passion for cartooning and writing that many times came under attack. I almost gave it up, but I always felt the Lord was using my gifts and talents and would use me for something major. I was not quite sure what it would look like, but, I was still interested and excited!
I recall writing an article, much like this one, using an anime series as an example to explain the power of God! I was told that “some might not like this,” and I swore I would never do it again. And yet, the Lord continued to use me and use the gifts he’s given me, much like Paul in the Scriptures or great writers like C.S. Lewis.
Remember, that was what Ur was trying to convince Gray to believe. What she was teaching would give Gray much, much more!
My issues and my wounds led me to be as driven as Gray was. I would often think that God was actually holding out on me.
I wanted to be more confident! I wanted to be more courageous! I wanted to feel good about who I was and experience peace in my identity! I wanted to know how to deal with my issues.
At some point in my young life I made it a point to just go it alone.
It wasn’t until later that I knew that God would withhold no good thing from me as long as I walk uprightly in Him—in particular, good things spiritually in spite of what was going on in the physical.
For the longest time, I felt like God was holding out on me as it related to being like the other kids growing up, having confidence, having strength and being popular and recognized. In part of my adulthood, past failures made me feel those same feelings of being left out and totally alone. But, from the Scriptures, to personal experiences with mentors and close relationships, I realized that God would never withhold anything from those who walked uprightly in Him:
Psalm 84:11 says:
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
The Lord also dealt with my heart with regards to my desire to “go it alone.” Growing up, I didn’t really have any friends. And if I did, it was a very short-lived experience. Growing up as a kind of loner, I would often negate the idea of building a relationship with others and choose to go it alone. Deep down, I actually yearned for the experience of being deeply connected with others. But my fears and dark past would keep me from it for a long time.
I would later find out that I could not do anything without Christ Jesus and without God. I had to be connected and my heart had to be open to Him and to others in order to experience those fruitful, healthy relationships… not to mention to be able to be all He made me to be.
John 15:3-5 says this:
You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
To go it alone without the covering or guidance of Jesus Christ it is an indicator of a much smaller outlook, oriented around an individual’s perspective.
But Ur, in her sacrifice, did something that actually solved the problem of both boys! She gave them a chance to dream beyond the very thing they were trying to defeat. Ur wanted Lyon to look beyond the notion of beating the teacher. And Ur wanted Gray to look beyond the notion of just living to defeat a demon.
Ur wanted both of her students to have full, happy lives!
John 10:10 says this:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
A life in Christ may not always be happy, but it will be full and with joy as we go through life’s circumstances and situations.
The believer in Jesus can celebrate knowing that we have a God and a Savior who loves us. He loved us so much that He died for us, freed us from the guilt, penalty and power of sin…and that He still lives. And, if we let Him, He will free us from all darkness and deliver us into his marvelous light.
Choosing Jesus, for me, meant that I had to stop trying to figure it all out by myself. Choosing Jesus meant that I didn’t have to try and go it alone. Asking Jesus to be Lord over my life meant that I could give to him all of my hatred, bitterness, anger, frustration and insecurities, and that even if it took a while to get past it, I could trust and believe He would heal me. Choosing Jesus meant I could have life and have it more abundantly. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ was the sacrifice made so I would never stay in the same place He found me.
General Disclaimer: Beneath the Tangles does not necessarily advocate the theological views expressed in any article labeled “Guest Post.”
While we are a Christian website, one of our goals here at Beneath the Tangles is to foster discussion with anime fans of all religions. We hope that you enjoy reading what our community has to offer and will consider submitting a guest post of your own. Remember, we welcome posts from all writers, regardless of their beliefs!