Newman’s Nook: Donyatsu’s Prayer and Questions

Donyatsu is an interesting manga (and short-form anime series) about a post-apocalyptic world setting where, so far, the only survivors are animals who’s bodies are also pastries. And mice. The main character is a donut shaped cat named Donytatsu. Seems fitting. After a strange attack by other-worldly beings, Donyatsu gets lost from his pastry animal friends and has to find his way back. In the process of being lost, he finds himself worrying, confused, tired, and actually prays to God. That’s when we have this scene in Chapter 48:

Donyatsu has been seeking the Lord, begging him to take him home. In the process, though, it still hasn’t happened yet. With no answer to his prayers, Donyatsu begins to question the existence of God. There is a lot more conversation in this chapter about the existence and meaning of God, but this section alone gives us a bit to unpack.

First, let’s look at Donyatsu and his prayer. Donyatsu is praying with intention for what he believes is possible. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact that is often observed Biblically. David’s Psalms are filled with intentional prayer for what was needed at the time. However, each of these prayers were matched with recognition that this was God’s decision to make – not their own. Donyatsu’s view of God in this specific instance is predicated entirely on whether or not He answers his prayer in the manner in which he expects it to be answered. Donyatsu is treating God more like some kind of cosmic genie than a benevolent creator.

There are numerous examples of prayer in the Bible. Answered prayers and unanswered prayers. Paul begged for a sinful thorn in his side to be lifted, God never did. David begged for wisdom and strength to defeat enemies, God delivered in certain circumstances immediately. There are also examples of extended periods of wait time before the prayer is answered, such as the story of Abraham’s promise of a son. While God does answer prayers, He is not in the business of doing exactly what we expect. I mean, who expected Jesus?

As I said in my 12 Days of Christmas post on Sakura Quest:

Christmas is all about flying in the face of expectations.

On Christmas a poor, unmarried virgin woman traveling with her poor, carpenter fiance travel to a small town for a census. While in town she gives birth in a stable to a baby boy who is also the God of the Universe choosing dwell among man in a limited, fleshy vessel as one of us. After being born, the child is placed in a feeding trough for animals in the stable as a sort of make shift crib. The first people told of this miraculous birth were those on the outskirts of society, shepherds. Not dignitaries. Not Kings. Not the local leaders. The society’s lowest of low were visited by angels to herald in the birth of Jesus Christ.

The story, obviously continues, but it reminds us that God does not always do what we expect or even want at times. Having faith in Him in spite of that is a virtue some do not have. This specific virtue we see in the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel. Executive summary? These three men were forced to serve the King of Babylon as eunuchs and when the King of Babylon forced all to bow down to worship a statue he created, they refused. This was to be followed by their execution in a fiery furnace. When addressed with the accusations and admitting to only worshiping God, the three of them say, “If it [their death by fire] be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18, ESV).

Basically, the three of them said that God can save them, but if He does not, then God still deserves worship and not your golden god.

“But if not…”

Facing death, facing the possibility of their prayer not being answered, the response was to continue to obey God, to roll into the Earthly consequences from Nebuchadnezzar. Their belief in God is not reliant upon Him saying yes to their prayers. They believe and worship Him regardless of the outcome.

That’s a strong faith in God. It’s one we do not often see as we are surrounded by those who would believe in a genie-like god who gives you whatever you want if we believe hard enough. Culturally the concept of a genie god handing down wishes is what Donyatsu knows of god to be. Yet, as a Christian, I believe in a better God. One who is personally molding us into His likeness. One who offers to be physically present with us. One who offered Himself as the sacrificial lamb so our sins can be forgiven. One who does not give us everything we want in this life, but has already provided us exactly what we need. Himself.

Donyatsu is being simulpublished and can be read legally at Crunchyroll.


7 thoughts on “Newman’s Nook: Donyatsu’s Prayer and Questions

  1. Luminas here! : ] It’s taken me a while to get back here, but here are my thoughts for today:

    The first is that the Christ story actually has a lot in common with most Hero’s Journey tales, in the sense that the Hero-King is usually someone nearly as innocuous and irrelevant as the potential listeners are. Every really good fairy tale stars someone who, for the most part, doesn’t matter, who sometimes either finds out that they are a “Prince or Princess of Heaven” or becomes such through their own actions. In this sense it would probably come off to the audience even two thousand years ago as downright annoying if Christ *was* born as someone important. The more interesting thing here though is that the mythological tradition is not like this at all. Indeed, only stories that the listeners explicitly *know* are false, but that contain ancient and true morality, turn out like this. So Christ is a true “Fairy Tale,” and in this sense He is the fulfillment of dreams of ours far older than our stories about gods. His is the kind of story that gives people hope that they can change.

    “Facing death, facing the possibility of their prayer not being answered, the response was to continue to obey God, to roll into the Earthly consequences from Nebuchadnezzar. Their belief in God is not reliant upon Him saying yes to their prayers. They believe and worship Him regardless of the outcome.”

    But more onto the actual purpose of your post. True, God isn’t a wish-granting genie, and if He were I’m not sure He would be anything like the kind of God most would worship. And the true love of and faith in a God by definition isn’t dependent on what the God does for you. In fact since I implicitly reject Pascal’s Wager, by saying that I’d rather *go down in flames forever* than stop loving the person I love, even if God exists, it doesn’t appear to be dependent on rational thought either. 😛 Nay…I wonder if, then, it’s got to do with what that God causes one to become. To part with the person in whom you were reborn, whom gave you a reason to live besides yourself, independent of yourself…Is far more intolerable than death, than any consequences that exist. Access to Christ’s sacrifice and God’s love *is* all one needs.

    1. Howdy Luminas! Always enjoy your thoughtful comments.

      Christ’s story is one of hope, I agree, and your thoughts do make sense in how it can bring hope to others.

      Going down in flames instead of giving up what one loves is a testimony to ones faith. The three men had it. Donyatsu does not as he’s ready to discount God because he does not seem to hear a response. It’s all a matter of faith. The author of Hebrews referred to faith as “…confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” We can’t always physically see God. We don’t always know what He’s doing. Some rational thinkers will call that nonsense and say, “Faith is ridiculous.” And it is to a certain degree. It’s absurd to put your trust in something you cannot see. But I have & do – and don’t regret it for a moment. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  2. Like, when you think about it, even if you were in a Hell that resembled Paradise, would it not still be Hell because of the sure knowledge that you would never again feel the presence of God?

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