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.